Updated | Greens to hold coalition talks with PN on Friday

AD deputy leader Carmel Cacopardo confirms PN coalition talks, says there's nothing wrong in discussing pre-electoral pact despite differences

AD chairman Arnold Cassola (left) has insisted that any coalition with PN will not be an assimilation
AD chairman Arnold Cassola (left) has insisted that any coalition with PN will not be an assimilation

Alternattiva Demokratika's leadership will be meeting PN leader Simon Busuttil and his right-hand man Mario de Marco on Friday to hold talks on forming a coalition ahead of the imminent elections.

Reacting to a MaltaToday report over the PN's approach, AD deputy chairperson Carmel Cacopardo confirmed that the two parties will hold talks on Friday after having a phone conversation with de Marco, Busuttil and PN administrative president Karol Aquilina Tuesday evening, adding that the Greens will enter the talks "with a lot of good will and ready to build bridges. But first we must ensure that the foundations are sound."

Writing on his blog, Cacopardo refrained from using the term coalition, instead saying that the PN offered "cooperation" adding that "there's nothing wrong in talking although there seems to be big differences."

MaltaToday Midweek reported that AD will hold internal talks to discuss whether to accept the Nationalist Party’s request for a meeting to trash out the terms of a potential pre-electoral coalition

PN deputy leader Mario de Marco confirmed with MaltaToday that he called the Green Party’s deputy leader Carmel Cacopardo to propose a meeting between themselves and their parties’ respective leaders. 

“It is premature to comment further at this stage, but I have a lot of respect for AD as a party and I think they’ve done a lot for this country. If a coalition could happen, then that would be great. We need to present a common front [in the upcoming election],” de Marco said.  

Cacopardo told MaltaToday that AD will hold an internal meeting to debate whether to accept De Marco’s request for a leaders’ meeting. 

“As of this stage, we just spoke over the phone and nothing has been agreed.”

He refused to entertain questions on whether a coalition could boost AD’s electoral chances, arguing that such issues will be discussed at their upcoming meeting. 

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has repeatedly called for a “national coalition” against corruption and the PN yesterday launched a website www.forzanazzjonali.com

So far, only the nascent Partit Demokratiku, spearheaded by independent MP Marlene Farrugia, has heeded the PN’s call. Its plan for a pre-electoral coalition, an unprecedented move in recent Maltese political history, will see the PD’s candidates run on the PN ticket but distinguish themselves through the use of the ‘Orange Party’ nickname on the voting document. 

A spokesperson for the PN confirmed with MaltaToday that it has approached AD and that a meeting should be held, but didn’t answer when asked whether what sort of coalition it has in mind. 

Notably, the PN dodged a point-blank question on whether it plans to approach other small parties – namely the far-right Moviment Patrijotti Maltin and the Eurosceptic Alleanza Bidla – with an offer for a pre-electoral coalition. 

AD Sliema councilor and former chairperson Michael Briguglio has urged his party to “consider” the possibility of a pre-electoral coalition with the PN, insisting this is the only way a third party can win a seat in parliament under the current electoral system. 

Before addressing the PN-organised demonstration on Sunday, Briguglio had an online spat with Alternattiva Demokratika chairperson Arnold Cassola.

In reply to Briguglio’s call to join him in Sunday’s demonstration “and put country before party” Cassola said “the easiest thing for me, if I were an egoist just thinking of my welfare, is to push AD to join the Busuttil bandwagon.

Cassola said last month that his party is open to forming a pre-electoral coalition with the PN, but that it mustn’t take the form of its planned deal with the PD as that amounts to “assimilation”.

“What is being proposed is assimilation and not a coalition, as what is being suggested is that AD candidates join another party list,” he said.

Cacopardo has also said that any potential coalition must involve the PN and the AD running on a commonly agreed political platform, but on two separate tickets. 

“An agreed electoral platform would address much more than issues of corruption and governance – on which there is a general position,” he wrote on his blog. “An agreed electoral platform would necessarily be all-embracing and range from environmental matters to education, social, economic, fiscal and cultural policy, as well as all other matters so essential in running the country.”

“By its very nature, a pre-electoral coalition, if formed, signifies a commitment to do away with, once and for all, two-party politics and consequently signifies the substitution of the politics of confrontation with the politics of consensus.” 

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