‘After local council vote, PN can win general election’ – Simon Busuttil

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil greeted by fireworks in St Paul’s Bay, says PN can build on local council result and win next general election

The local council results mean that the party will give Joseph Muscat and the Labour Party a run for their money and win the next general election, PN leader Simon Busuttil said.

“Some people were sceptical of the PN’s chances of regaining the electorate’s trust but the belief has now swung in favour of the Nationalist Party. The truth is that the party managed to turn the situation around and reduce the gap,” Busuttil insisted.

Addressing the PN faithful at St Paul’s Bay – where the party managed to narrowly reclaim a majority by a slim margin – Busuttil was greeted to a rapturous applause and fireworks.

“The PN is back in business and the gap between the PN and the Labour Party is the smallest since 2007 … however, the party still has a long way to go and the biggest challenge is to remain close to the people,” he warned.

Busuttil explained that prior to the recent round of elections, the general belief was that the result of the general election was already a foregone conclusion and that Joseph Muscat was invincible.

“However, the results show that the PN can mount a significant challenge and manage to win the next election,” Busuttil rallied. An optimistic Busuttil also sounded a warning to the PN’s councillors, and insisted that they must deliver results and work together as a team.

In spite of his previous declarations in favour of political parties using different mediums to deliver its messages, the PN leader broke with tradition and delivered the usual “Sunday sermon” to the St Paul’s Bay faithful.

While expressing his condolences to the hundreds migrants who perished off Malta’s shores, the PN leader also hit out at Joseph Muscat for his pre-electoral criticism of the previous government’s handling of the migration issue.

Busuttil said that rather than following Joseph Muscat in using migration as a “political tool to gain votes,” the PN sought to strike a consensus. Moreover, while insisting that Malta cannot shoulder the migration burden alone, the PN leader insisted that “migrants are also people, and not numbers.”

“People are not numbers, everyone deserves to be treated with dignity, and the people should stay away from those politicians who treat the people like numbers,” he underlined.

Slamming Muscat’s political style, which according to Simon Busuttil is characterised with unfulfilled promises and half-baked measures, the PN leader insisted that the party can only build on its result by remaining close to the people.

“It was honesty that attracted the people to the Nationalists Party, when the party lost the general election by such huge margins, we had nothing to lose so honesty was the only way forward.”

“Staying close to the people is the biggest key to ensure a win for the PN. We must send a clear message that the PN will undoubtedly remain close to the people and that it will continue to make a difference,” he held.

In contrast, he said, Labour’s political style is mired in deceit and dishonesty. The PN leader insisted that it was only thanks to the newspapers that the country is aware of Muscat’s travels to Azerbaijan.

“Why is Muscat going to Azerbaijan for the second time in less than four months? Why is Muscat so keen on visiting one of the most corrupt countries in the world, why is keeping his travels a secret,” Busuttil quipped.

The PN leader also criticised the prime minister for “passing up an opportunity to unite the country,” arguing that Muscat should have invited the opposition for the launch of the interconnector project. The Malta-Sicily interconnector project was attended by Italian and Maltese Prime ministers Matteo Renzi and Joseph Muscat, as well as former PN prime minister Lawrence Gonzi whom Muscat praised.

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