Updated | Alex Perici Calascione, Frank Portelli join PN leadership race

The PN’s outgoing treasurer Alex Perici Calascione submits nomination • Frank Portelli collects 10 signatures required to contest the PN leadership election

Alex Perici Calascione (right) submits nomination whilst Frank Portelli (left) is said to have collected the required 10 signatures
Alex Perici Calascione (right) submits nomination whilst Frank Portelli (left) is said to have collected the required 10 signatures

The Nationalist Party’s outgoing treasurer, Alex Perici Calascione, has submitted his nomination for the leadership election, in a bid to replace outgoing leader, Simon Busuttil.

Frank Portelli - CEO of St Philip’s Hospital, a former member of parliament and a former MEP candidate – has also secured the 10 signatures required to submit his nomination.

With Portelli's candidature, the number of candidates interested in becoming the PN’s new leader has reached four, together with MP Chris Said and lawyer Adrian Delia.

Nominations closed today at 6pm. MPs Claudio Grech and Marthese Portelli confirmed they are not contesting the leadership election.

PN focused too much on corruption, says leadership hopeful Perici Calascione

Perici Calascione criticised his party for focusing too heavily on corruption during its election campaign.

Launching his campaign at the AZAD think-tank's Valletta headquarters, his message was clear: the PN should continue tackling corruption but not let that message drown out its economic and social proposals.

"The PN was a very proactive Opposition and our manifesto had included some excellent proposals that I hope the government takes on board," he said. "However, our heavy focus on corruption meant that these proposals often went unnoticed."

Perici Calascione said that the PN's best electoral message was its final billboard, in which it pledged to "improve on the good and get rid of the wrong".

"We should have the courage and decency to realize which economic sectors are doing well. That should have been part of our message from the start, and when we released that billboard it was too late."

Indeed, he did not even mention corruption when asked by MaltaToday what the country's three largest problems were.

Instead, he mentioned the growing gap between the haves and have-nots, the Labour government's failure to create any new economic niches, and the shortage of high-quality jobs on the island.

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