Cuschieri: ‘Labour wanted me on the losers’ side’

Incumbent MEP Joe Cuschieri says Labour Party sidelined him, making it impossible for him to contest elections fairly

Joseph Cuschieri (right) gave up his MP's seat in 2008 so that Joseph Muscat could be co-opted into the House - he now says he complained to the prime minister about the way he had been sidelined in these elections.
Joseph Cuschieri (right) gave up his MP's seat in 2008 so that Joseph Muscat could be co-opted into the House - he now says he complained to the prime minister about the way he had been sidelined in these elections.
Joseph Cuschieri: 'The party wanted me on the losers' side' - Frux/Xejk TV

Incumbent Labour MEP Joseph Cuschieri has quelled months of speculation over his future as an MEP, after announcing that he will not contest the forthcoming MEP elections.

But he was clear in his accusation that he felt the Labour Party was not treating his potential candidature on the same footing as that of other candidates, suggesting that the party did not want him to be a successful candidate.

“I have always won my elections… but the party seemed to want me on the losers’ side,” Cuschieri said on Xejk TV programme Frux.

Cuschieri was adamant to use this programme as the platform to announce he was not contesting: he tweeted the press minutes before the start of the programme.

The MEP, Malta’s sixth MEP in the latest enlargement of the European Parliament, said he would not contest the forthcoming elections claiming “unfairness” on the part of Labour’s party machine.

He said that although he had spoken to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in recent months about this perceived unfairness, “nothing has changed”.

“I was focused on very important challenges to our national interest – such as irregular immigration, the EP resolution on citizenship for example… that left you no time to do any canvassing at home…

“But I saw that it was unfair that I was not being given due attention by the campaign team during the build-up to the MEP elections,” Cuschieri said.

Although he did not refer to them by name, candidates like Miriam Dalli and Cyrus Engerer were said to have enjoyed extensive media coverage on the Labour party television and radio station.

“There are candidates who abused of the party machine. These candidates took advantage of the situation. I feel disappointed since each and every candidate had to be given the same treatment and no one ought to be privileged or disadvantaged.”

Although Cuschieri said he spoke to Joseph Muscat and Labour president Daniel Micallef about what he felt was discrimination, nothing had changed.

“I was, still am and will continue support the Labour party. I still believe in our Prime Minister,” Cuschieri said.

“However, nothing changed and I felt that I should not contest since the Labour Party wanted me on the losers’ side.

“I never participated in an election where the result is already fixed. In these circumstances, there was no fairness in the European Parliament election. That’s why I will not contest the European Parliament elections.”

In 2008, Joseph Cuschieri gave up his parliamentary seat so that Labour leaderJoseph Muscat could be co-opted to the House and become Opposition leader. 

Cuschieri became the sixth Maltese MEP in 2011 when he recieved confirmation that he will finally take his seat in the European Parliament, after waiting for three years for the full ratification of the extra MEPs to be welcomed into the EP.

Labour’s approved candidates are MP Deborah Schembri, Cyrus Engerer, Peter Cordina, Lino Bianco, Ivan Grixti, Clint Camilleri, Mario Farrugia Borg, Charlon Gouder and Fleur Vella. Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant, ONE presenter Miriam Dalli, Engerer and MEP Marlene Mizzi are considered to be among the favourite top four for election.

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