[WATCH] Labour Party deputy leaders appeal for Joseph Muscat to stay on

‘Don’t forget that in addition to your family you also have us, because we are also your family and we need you to stay and guide us'

Deputy leader Chris Cardona told Muscat that the party still needed him to guide it
Deputy leader Chris Cardona told Muscat that the party still needed him to guide it

Both of the Labour Party’s deputy leaders have again appealed to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to stay on a party leader.

Muscat has repeatedly said that he will not contest another election, insisting that he did not believe that any Prime Minister should remain in office more than ten years.

Speaking at the party’s annual general conference, deputy leader for party affairs Chris Cardona insisted that the party still needed Muscat’s guidance.

 “When you were elected leader, you had asked us to love you and we loved you and your family, and don’t forget that in addition to your family you also have us because we are also your family and we need you to stay and guide us,” Cardona said.

He said that ultimately the final decision would be Muscat’s, but said the party wanted there to be many more conferences with Muscat sat at the table.

Outreach has increased party’s catchment

Cardona said that the party’s decision this year to hold various sessions outside of the PL headquarters had been a positive one that had seen it become closer to the people.

The Labour party held sessions in three localities in Malta and a futher three localities in Gozo, with Cardona stressing that this had increased the party’s “catchment”, despite the fact that it was already popular. 

The sessions, he said, had been essential to the party listening to more people for it to be better able to propose changes that improved society.

Cardona said that this contrasted with the approach being taken by the Opposition. “It is a party that is negative and one that is built on falsehoods and principles that are either no longer valid, or which conveniently hide these principles.”

He said that despite PN leader Adrian Delia’s promises of a ‘new way’, this had not yet materialised. “I think that on the 25 May, the nation will now say to the PN: ‘no way’.”

Since the last election two years ago, the PN, Cardona said, had not come up with one idea or proposal to inspire at least one segment of society.

He recalled how in 2009, upon being elected Labour Party leader, Joseph Muscat had asked the party’s delegates, councilors and MPs to start coming up with ideas for the party to be in a strong position to offer an alternative to the government of the time. 

The PN, he said, was creating a democratic deficit that was a threat to the country’s present way of life.

Cardona also accused the PN of attempting to deprive “hundreds, if not thousands” of people from their right to vote, by not fielding enough candidates in a number of localities. 

Turning to the European Parliament, Cardona insisted that the difference in the performance and the priorities of Labour and PN MEPs was clear for all to see.

PN MEPs, he said, had chosen to attack the country because they knew that attacking investment and jobs would hurt the government.

“Had the interests of the country not been safeguarded by a strong government, it could have left to the loss of thousands of jobs across Malta and Gozo,” Cardona said.

Cardona ended with an appeal to the Prime Minister for him to stay on as party leader.

“When you were elected leader, you had asked us to love you and we loved you and your family, and don’t forget that in addition to your family you also have us because we are also your family and we need you to stay and guide us,” Cardona said.

He said that ultimately the final decision would be Muscat’s, but said the party wanted to there to be many more conferences with Muscat sat at the table.

Muscat embodies Labour’s competence - Fearne

Deputy leader Chris Fearne said that the party’s success was down to competence, teamwork and a sense of duty towards the country.

The Labour Party’s competence, he said, was embodied by Muscat, “who for years had led the party to one success after the other”.

“He has pushed forward our country’s vision with great discipline, strength and determination as well as professionalism and we all want him to continue leading us with this competence for many years to come,” he said.

Fearne added that he was sure that with Muscat’s competence, the party could continue to win, and in the same way that the party had spent 25 years in opposition, it could spend the same amount of time in government.

Under Muscat’s leadership the party had also shown a great sense of unity and teamwork. This teamwork, he said, had been visible at every level, from the party’s administration to the cabinet of ministers.

He said that the party’s teamwork had contributed to a sense of political stability that had brought with it investment and work. “This teamwork continues to generate a sense of respect and dialogue, not only between us, but also with others because we are all Maltese with the country at heart.”

Fearne said that he was convinced that with the Labour Party’s teamwork the party could realise its dream of eradicating poverty in Malta. “This is our main target as Labourites.”

He said the party had also showed a sense of duty, keeping in mind the interest of the nation and its people first and above all else.

“With Joseph Muscat’s leadership we found a way of creating wealth and in the coming years we must continue on this path. We must continue on Joseph Muscat’s road of continuity to continue creating wealth for the country,” he said, adding that the government needed to remain both pro-business and pro-worker.  

He pointed to the government to increase the salary of contractor employees working in government departments and match it with that of government employees. Despite this, he said that these workers still did not enjoy the same benefits as other government workers, insisting that government would continue working with employers and unions to address this anomality.

Unlike other parties, Fearne said the Labour Party was one that cared about others in society and one thaat wanted all to live the best possible life they could. 

14-year-olds now eligible to become members

The general conference also approved a change that will see the minimum age for one to become a member lowered from 16 to 14 years.

It said that over the past two years, the party’s youth wing, Forum Żgħażagħ Laburisti, had seen an increase in the number of youngsters below the age of 16 that wanted to join and contribute to the party.

In a statement the Labour Party said the latest change followed the launch of the campaign ‘Ġenerazzjoni Sittax’ two years ago.

“Forum Żgħażagħ Laburisti recognises that none of this would have been possible without 16-year-olds being given the right to vote, a right that brought with it a great interest in local, national and European politics,” the PL said. “This sequence of events shows us how legislative changes can have a positive effect on various aspects of life.”

Earlier during the conference, party CEO Randolph Debattista announced that the party had registered a surplus of €900,000 last year.

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