Edwin Vassallo launches deputy leadership bid: ‘PN right on IVF leave motion’

Edwin Vassallo, who broke ranks with the PN to vote against gay marriage, says his campaign for deputy leader will champion women’s rights, social inclusion and solidarity

Vassallo insisted he PN was right to oppose the government's legal notice
Vassallo insisted he PN was right to oppose the government's legal notice

Nationalist Party deputy leadership contender Edwin Vassallo has insisted the PN was right to file a motion challenging rules granting 100 days of leave for travel abroad to receive IVF treatment.

The PN claims the rules do not reflect the wording of the 2012 law on IVF that bans gay couples or single mothers from being granted IVF treatment in Malta.

But Vassallo, a former minister, also said he agreed with Nationalist MP Therese Comodini Cachia, who has called on Opposition leader Adrian Delia to grant MPs a free vote.

Vassallo said he felt Malta’s IVF laws, which outlaw embryo freezing, were good and had to be improved. But he insisted that the definition of prospective parents in the new legal notice, was different to what was “responsibly” laid down in the Embryo Protection Act.

Vassallo today aunched his campaign for deputy leader for parliamentary affairs. He has previously stated he would pull out of the race, if leadership candidate Chris Said were to submit his nomination, “in the interest of party unity”.

Asked whether he would still pull out if Said were not the only candidate in the race, Vassallo replied that he would do whatever was required of him by Delia. “I don’t want to get in the leader’s way, and if he finds a better solution than Edwin Vassallo to keep party united, I will pull out.”

Vassallo said his campaign theme, ‘Forward together’ (Flimkien il-quddiem), was his own personal mission. “Together, because we are one part and I want everyone to feel comfortable,” he said. “I want to bring back all those who felt excluded within the PN and only if united, can the party really hope to make a difference in the country.”

Above all, he said that he had stepped forward because he wanted to promote human dignity, stressing his priorities as “real and social poverty”, fighting for women’s rights, promoting solidarity and above all social inclusion.

“We can’t have any one feeling abandoned in their own community,” Vassallo, formerly a mayor for Mosta, said.

‘For liberty, not for libertinism’

Vassallo also affirmed his belief in freedom, people’s right to their beliefs, “but not in libertinism”.

“Equality does not mean rendering all people identical, but appreciating the differences among people. I am not a populist, I make my choices on the basis of values and principles,” he said.

“I have never shied away from defending that which I believe in and I have always done this because I believe many others hold the same values.”

Vassallo, who in July voted against gay marriage, against the PN whip’s instruction, insisted he never sought to push his beliefs onto others.

“I want to lead a campaign based on the people… politics should be developed on the streets and in work places rather than political party headquarters.” 

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