Labour officially delisted from Socialist International

The Labour party was demoted to observer status for not paying its membership fees in 2012, and was formally delisted in December last year.

Labour joined the Socialist International under the leadership of Dom Mintoff
Labour joined the Socialist International under the leadership of Dom Mintoff

The Labour Party, a member of the international grouping of socialist parties since 1955, has been delisted from the Socialist International for not paying its membership fees.

Labour, which became part of the democratic socialist association just four years after the International was formed, is now affiliated to the Party of European Socialists and the International Union of Socialist Youth.

Labour joined the Socialist International under the leadership of Dom Mintoff, who became leader in 1949 after splitting from Paul Boffa who went on to form the Malta Workers Party.

As prime minister Mintoff actively lobbied to have Malta host the Socialist International in 1973, but Israeli prime minister Golda Meir had warned she would not attend because of Mintoff’s anti-Israeli remarks in parliament and his statement that if he were a Palestinian, he would join in hijacking and other terrorist activities.

Under Joseph Muscat, who assumed the leadership in 2008, the Labour party went on to be demoted to observer status for not paying its membership fees in 2012, and was formally delisted in December last year.

In comments to MaltaToday, party president Daniel Micallef said Labour was “still working to strengthen its foreign relations, both in Europe and internationally, including with other member parties within the Socialist International.”

Micallef however said, without specifying, that there are “pending issues with the same organisation, brought forward along [with] other parties, mostly European. The PES is an associated organisation of the Socialist International, where the PL is active, and just last year, IUSY – which is a fraternal organisation within the SI – had its World Festival successfully hosted here in Malta by the PL and FZL.”

A spokesperson for the Socialist International confirmed that the delisting of Labour was automatic after the party failed to pay its membership fees. SI could not confirm the membership fee due.

Other parties have however signalled their opposition to the SI for hosting socialist parties that are perceived to be undemocratic, leading Germany’s Social Democratic Party in 2013 to found a rival international network of social-democratic parties known as the Progressive Alliance.

Labour’s international secretary until recently was former foreign minister Alex Sceberras Trigona, who has been succeeded by the young Marc Vella Bonnici.

Vella Bonnici, son of Identity Malta’s executive chairman Joe Vella Bonnici – a former Labour candidate – is actually employed to handle “special projects” for Malta’s non-resident ambassador to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and consul to Ukraine, John Debono.

Debono owns the Triton group of companies, which specialises in shipping logistics, engineering, as well as aircraft chartering, outside catering, film servicing, incentive travel, property development and billboards customarily used by the Labour Party.

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