Busuttil: PN needs to transform itself in ‘party for tomorrow’

PN leader Simon Busuttil says opposition needs to look ahead and become the party for the future and not the past

The Nationalist Party should roll its sleeves up and become the party for tomorrow and not yesterday’s party, opposition leader Simon Busuttil said.

Addressing the party faithful in St Venera, Busuttil  said “the PN needs people who do not give up, we need people who are ready to fight back and win the race. To achieve this we need to take hard decisions and carry out big changes. However, if we pull the same rope, than the PN can get back on its feet again, start running and win the race.”

This, Busuttil stressed, did not mean the party would discard persons who were active within the party in the past. While acknowledging that last week’s electoral result was discouraging, he said “this is the moment to stand and be counted, this is the moment to be present. We need new blood, we need the best persons to be here with us.”

Reiterating that the European parliament elections gave two separate outcomes, Busuttil said that the PN scored a draw in regards to the election of seats while noting that the party came out on the losing end in terms of votes.

Insisting that obtaining three seats was the PN’s “only target,” the opposition leader said that this aim was “honest, clear and ambitious.” In thanking the PN’s three elected MEPs and the team of candidates who contested the election, he said that the PN’s influence within the European People’s Party is now stronger and urged the MEPs to represent “the party and the country.”

Turning to the bruising electoral loss, Busuttil said that despite the “historic” loss the PN suffered last year, the party has elected the third seat for the first time in 10 years.

“I will be honest, the result was disappointing. Ideally, we would have elected three seats and reduced the gap by more than 3,000 votes. But we knew this would be difficult and we did not set any targets.”

Yet, he added that the PN must now rise up to the occasion and “show the people that we are humbly understating the people’s message.”

He said the vote showed that the PN did not reconnect with the people. “Before the PN really changes and earns the people’s trust we will not earn their vote.”

This, he said, can only be achieved by building upon the changes the party embarked on just over a year ago, “but we also need to go beyond.”

Busuttil said he would be meeting former European commission Joe Borg, who heads the party’s commission, which screens candidates, to kick off the process to select candidates for next year’s local council elections and the 2018 general elections.

Newly elected MEP Roberta Metsola thanked the party faithful and the backroom staff who “helped the party reach its target to elect three seats.” She added that as from tomorrow, she would continue doing her utmost to “help PN leader Simon Busuttil to strengthen the party.”

She added that the opposition was prepared to listen to the people and represent the country in the best way possible.

The PN’s head of delegation in Brussels, David Casa, announced that the three opposition MEPs would be sitting on committees which “strengthen the country’s position” and expressed his hope that the three Labour MEPs would not opt to sit on the same committees the opposition has chosen.

Describing the third seat obtained by the PN as a “gift” from the people, Casa said that the European elections result was disappointing and the PN had so far failed to renew itself and reconnect with the people.

“We have lost the election, although we have reached our goal of electing three seats…but we have to make further changes and we need your help. Do not lose heart, the PN has been through worse times, but the party will get on its feet again.”

The PN’s third MEP, Therese Commodini Cachia, was not present for the party event because of family commitments.