Simon Busuttil calls for ‘national coalition’ against corruption

Leader of the Nationalist Party rallies troops and calls on everyone who opposes corruption to join his party: ‘You’ve trusted me once … trust me again’

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has called for “a national coalition against corruption” saying that the Nationalist Party will be opening itself up to anyone who opposes corruption.

“An alternative government is the solution to the corruption that has engulfed this government. The PN in government will make the fight against corruption a priority, cleaning the mess that was created in just three years and a half. I am calling for a national coalition against corruption and we are opening our doors to anyone who wants to join us in this fight."

Quoting TV presenter Salvu Mallia, who yesterday addressed a similar political activity, Busuttil insisted that only the Nationalist Party could beat Joseph Muscat’s government.

“Salvu Mallia has recognized this. I am now inviting everyone to join us to fight for our country.”

Busuttil was addressing a political activity at the Granaries in Floriana, as the PN prepares to mark the 52nd anniversary since Malta gained its Independence.

“Trust is something which one has to fight for. I'm only asking you to give me the chance to persuade you. You’ve already trusted me during Malta’s accession to the European Union … I’m asking you to trust me again.”

The PN leader used his address to lambast the government and its handling of the Panama Papers revelations. Referring to a tweet released by international NGO Transparency International in August, Busuttil accused the government “of ignoring the corruption that has engulfed it”.

“This is a sentiment felt by all, which has tarnished Malta’s reputation. Transparency International has said that Malta  needs to clean up its corruption mess before it heads the Council of the EU next year,” he said. Malta is preparing to the EU Presidency in January 2017.

The PN leader, who reiterated his opposition to Leo Brincat’s nomination to the European Court of Auditors, also accused the government of being “anti-democratic”.

“Joseph Muscat will still manage to have Leo Brincat approved to the European Court of Auditors,” he said, as Brincat prepares to face the final vote of the Council of Ministers. “But the European Parliament has already turned Brincat down … steaming ahead only means that Muscat leads a government which fails to respect democracy.”

Making the fight against corruption his battle cry, Busuttil said he would ensure that his ministers lead by example, refusing to have members of the cabinet or chief of staff with companies and accounts in secretive jurisdictions.

“It is unacceptable for a minister to employ his wife, child or grandparent … taxpayers’ money is not to be squandered.”

Busuttil said that he would also “give autonomy and independence back" to all of the country’s institutions, so these serve the public while individuals in the highest institutions are appointed by parliament.

Busuttil also pledged to “clean the disciplined forces and the state broadcaster which are no longer independent”.

The PN leader said there was only one way to fight “bullies” and that is to stand up to them: “Bullies are cowards and you have to show them that you’re not scared of them. We know we’re in the right direction and we want to be there as the people look for an alternative government they can trust.”

More in National