PN ‘realistic’ but wants to make a difference, Busuttil says

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil announces new office for political complaints, accuses government of hypocrisy by not allowing 16-year-olds to vote in spring hunting referendum.

With the Nationalist Party still reeling from the its general election loss and the MEP elections in 2014, PN leader Simon Busuttil has said that the party is under no illusion of the challenge it faces, but insisted that the party is still capable of making a difference.

Addressing a political activity as part of the local elections campaign, Busuttil explained that even though 19 of the 34 local councils hold a Labour majority, the party is still confident of “making a difference” in the elections. Nevertheless, the PN leader said the party has learnt from its mistakes by listening to the people, including those who had complained about the previous administration.

Busuttil argued that in an effort to reach out to those who were “hurt” by the Nationalist administration, the party has set up an office to receive complaints of political discrimination carried out by the government. Chaired by MP Robert Cutajar, the office will be tasked with redressing the complaints on which a future PN government would act.

The PN leader insisted that despite the party “not being perfect,” a PN led council would bring a huge difference to the Maltese localities, while on the other hand; Busuttil voiced his disdain at Labour-led councils. However, despite MaltaToday revealing an email from a Gozitan contractor to PN general secretary Chris Said about “work for votes” – which amongst others showed that Said was aware of the devious scheme – Busuttil made no mention of the ongoing investigations.

Instead, the PN leader delved into the government’s performance, lamenting, amongst others, its poor transparency record, the country’s economic performance, its traffic situation, road structure, as well hypocrisy.

Drawing parallels between the Nationalist Party and the government, Busuttil insisted that if it were for Joseph Muscat, the local council elections would have been postponed until 2019.

“The point of departure of these local council elections is that Joseph Muscat wanted to suspend the local council elections because it is a ‘waste of money’. It is unheard of for a prime minister in any country to say that a democratic election is waste of money.”

Conversely, he said, despite the PN being under no illusion of the challenge it faces, the Opposition was always at the forefront of safeguarding democracy and to holding the elections.

The PN leader also accused Joseph Muscat of hypocrisy, claiming that he first introduced the right to vote for 16-year-olds only to then postpone the local council elections, and more recently, say that they cannot vote in the spring hunting referendum.

Turning his attention to the economy, Busuttil said statistics showed that the average wage over the past two years had only grown at €3.50 per week during the government’s two years. Conversely, during the five years of the previous PN administration, this grew at an average of €10 a week.

Accusing the government of political discrimination, he said that able workers were being sidelined to make way for Labourites, and this reflected in an increase in 5,000 workers in the civil service. The PN leader also took umbrage at Joseph Muscat’s declaration that the government has nothing to hide, and urged the government to publish its contracts with Henley & Partners, Electrogas and Shanghai Electric, as well as the emails between the prime minister and the Café Premier representatives.

On the local councils, the PN leader said that under a PN-led council, Malta has flourished whereas under Labour-led councils, residents got the short end of the stick. Citing Mosta and St Paul’s Bay as examples – which are led by PN-led and Labour-led councils respectively – Busuttil insisted that St Paul’s Bay is in a “disastrous situation” characterised by infighting, while the Mosta local council carried out significant improvements in the locality.