Cardona pledges ‘high ethical standards’ for PL candidates in deputy leader campaign

Economy minister claims Muscat's recent Cabinet reshuffle was forced by Mizzi's 'mistake' of opening an offshore company 

Economy minister Chris Cardona called for “high ethical standards” across the board of the Labour Party, as he launched his campaign to succeed Konrad Mizzi as PL deputy leader for party affairs.

Addressing the press outside Dock 1 in Bormla, Cardona said that Labour must “remain a catalyst of pro-transparency legislation” and ensure high ethical standards from all of its candidates for general and local elections.

When asked whether minister Konrad Mizzi and chief of staff Keith Schembri had acted ethically when they opened offshore companies in Panama, Cardona said that the Prime Minister has already acted in that regard.

“The Prime Minister wouldn’t have reshuffled the Cabinet had Konrad Mizzi not made that mistake,” he argued. “I cannot comment on Keith Schembri because he’s not a politician, but a person of trust who reports directly to the Prime Minister.”

The reshuffle saw Mizzi stripped off his energy and health portfolios but maintained as a “minister within the Office of the Prime Minister”. However, it also saw the appointment of Manuel Mallia as Competitiveness Minister – in charge of gaming, maritime affairs and the digital economy, sectors previously under Cardona’s portfolio.

Cardona’s manifesto - entitled #AStrongerPLincludes a proposal to set up an information office within Labour’s Hamrun headquarters, as well as a legal unit to help people seeking legal remedies for injustices suffered over the years.

He also proposes to boost aid to local councils, introduce a child care facility at the PL headquarters for the children of PL activists, and embark on a consultation process over potential “courageous and innovative legislation”.  

Cardona will compete with justice and culture minister Owen Bonnici and former PL president Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi for the post of deputy leader of party affairs. The internal election will take place between 9 and 10 June, with the possibility of a run-off one day later if nobody is elected in the first round.