Chris Fearne fires first public ‘appeal’ calling on Muscat to stay on

Looks like the first ‘don’t go’ tribute to Labour leader and prime minister Joseph Muscat has kicked off…

'Could you win us the 2022 election and save us the heavy lifting?': Fearne takes his oath of office on 9 June 2017
'Could you win us the 2022 election and save us the heavy lifting?': Fearne takes his oath of office on 9 June 2017

Deputy prime minister and health minister Chris Fearne has called on Prime Minister Joseph Muscat not to leave the helm of the Labour Party before the next general election.

Fearne, popularly seen as a possible leadership contender in the wake of Muscat’s departure, made his appeal in an opinion piece in The Times. “The best observation I can think of on this milestone,” he wrote of Muscat’s 10 years at the helm of the PL, “is a simple, humble, yet deeply felt request: Joseph do not leave before the next general election.”

Muscat has twice declared he will not be running the Labour Party at the next general election in 2022, both before he won the last election, and after the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

MORE How popular is Joseph Muscat? Read our most recent poll

Despite his administration’s embarrassing saga in the Panama Papers and various other accusations of corrupt practices levelled at Muscat’s aides, the Labour leader retains an impressive trust rating over his Opposition counterpart Adrian Delia.

“Joseph Muscat owes it to himself as much as to us. Please break your promise,” Fearne wrote.

Muscat took Labour to power in 2013 with an unprecedented 36,000 vote majority, and clinched an even larger majority against Simon Busuttil in 2017.

“I want to see him win against the third PN Leader with a yet even wider majority,” Fearne said. “It would be a fitting end to an exciting, inspiring and inspired political journey which started from the bottom of the mountain and reached the highest peak.”

Fearne said Muscat had transformed the Labour Party “into a winning machine” that had inspired confidence from people in business, trade unions, and those who believed in civil and minority rights. “Many, particularly the two Nationalist Party leaders he defeated, ridiculed [him]… Today they no longer do. Who would deny that our leader create movement with a wide reach than the party itself?”

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