Muscat at victory mass meeting: ‘Malta must unite like never before’

Joseph Muscat tells PL mass meeting that he will not repeat 'mistake of allowing people to sow division in the country'

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat gets a hero's welcome at Labour's mass meeting. Photo: James Bianchi
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat gets a hero's welcome at Labour's mass meeting. Photo: James Bianchi

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat doubled down on his call for national unity in the wake of last week’s election, telling a Labour mass meeting that the country must “unite like never before”.

Several thousands of Labour supporters turned up at the Granaries to listen to Muscat’s victory speech, many waving Labour flags and wearing clothes with Labour clothing.

However, Muscat quickly attempted to play down his landslide victory as a triumph of the Labour Party over the Nationalist Party, but rather one of “love over hate, unity over division, truth over lies, stability over confusion, and socio-economic progress over regression”.

“Malta has long been used to being split down the middle politically with only minor differences between the two main parties, but over the past nine years this movement has won election after election with significant majorities,” he said. “We cannot afford to lose ourselves in the euphoria of results and numbers, but realize that this result is a clear sign that Malta is united behind our vision for the country.”

He once against extended a hand of friendship to the Opposition and to everyone “willing to work in the national interest”.

“The government has taken account of its mistakes and won’t repeat them, and one major mistake was to allow people to create divisions within the public,” he said. “My wife and I were insulted personally by people who wanted to throw us in jail. Although they said that about me, I will be the first in line to extend a hand of friendship to everyone willing to work with me to help the country progress.

“We must unite this country more than ever before, because Malta deserves more than the political insults, extreme accusations and lies against people whose only fault was that they militate in the party that we have witnessed over the past few weeks.”

Muscat dismissed concerns that Labour’s landslide victory of some 35,000 votes was the result of the government abusing of its power of incumbency to dish out political favours.

“Such results can’t be achieved by handing out favours and anyone who believes this is insulting this historic achievement,” he said. “Such a majority could only have been achieved by a competent leadership that has a clear vision for this country that the people found hope in.”

The Prime Minister said he wasn’t surprised at the scale of Labour’s victory because he “has the finger on the public pulse and knew what people were thinking in the silence of their homes”.

Thousands of Labour supporters gather at the Granaries for their party's victory mass meeting. Photo: James Bianchi
Thousands of Labour supporters gather at the Granaries for their party's victory mass meeting. Photo: James Bianchi
Thousands of Labour supporters gather at the Granaries for their party's victory mass meeting. Photo: James Bianchi
Thousands of Labour supporters gather at the Granaries for their party's victory mass meeting. Photo: James Bianchi

He pledged to see out his five-year term in humility, to be close to emancipated people including immigrants and prisoners, and to not let the result get to the heads of any of his team.

“As soon as anyone starts looking down at people, I will remind them that Malta has rejected that type of arrogance for good.”

Ahead of his upcoming testimony at the European Parliament next week during a plenary session on the Panama Papers and the rule of law in Malta, Muscat pledged to travel to Strasbourg as the “shield” of his country.

“Some people in this country did their utmost to tarnish Malta’s reputation, but they soon realized that the public had rejected that tactic,” he said. “I will be Malta’s shield next week, and Malta will be defended by Joseph Muscat and this movement.

“Malta is one, Malta is united, and we must now become a model for the rest of the world...we must become the envy of the world.

‘Muscat the best political leader in Malta’s history’ - Chris Cardona

In an earlier speech, PL deputy leader and economy minister Chris Cardona hailed Joseph Muscat as “the best political leader in Malta’s history”.

“We aren’t only celebrating the victory of the Labour Party against the Nationalist Party, but the victory of success against mediocrity, normality and fear, of love against envy and prejudice, and of humility against arrogance and superiority.”

He told PL supporters to brace themselves for more economic success stories in the next five years.

“We had inherited a stagnant economy four years ago and achieved so much regardless...can you imagine what more we can achieve now that we’re starting off from a budget surplus?”

 

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