[WATCH] Good governance offers opportunity for country to do better, Joe Giglio says

Xtra on TVM News Plus | PN candidate Joe Giglio and PL MP Andy Ellul discuss the next election and voters’ aspirations

Labour MP Andy Ellul (left) and PN candidate Joe Giglio
Labour MP Andy Ellul (left) and PN candidate Joe Giglio

The Nationalist Party’s focus on good governance is intended to show that the country can do much better if public funds are spent well, Joe Giglio said.

The PN candidate insisted public funds squandered on direct orders and dubious contracts like those with Electrogas and the hospitals concession, could be used to shore up families, pensioners, small businesses and start-ups.

“One can say that country is doing well but if our money is spent judiciously, the country can do much better,” Giglio said on TVM News Plus’ Xtra.

Giglio will be contesting the general election on the PN ticket for the first time. In a debate with newly co-opted Labour MP Andy Ellul, Giglio said although money was an important consideration for voters, other factors such as free time, better paying jobs, the environment and education were also significant issues.

The PN candidate said the responsibility for Malta being placed on the Financial Action Task Force greylist was solely government’s and thus it was the least credible to get the country off it. “Getting off the greylist is primarily an issue of perception and the PN with its raft of legislative proposals unveiled last week to bolster good governance has the credibility to change things around,” Giglio said.

Ellul rebutted the argument, adding that on good governance, Robert Abela’s administration over the past two years had done a lot and won praise from international institutions.

People will be voting for that party which can bring about a difference in their life, Ellul said. “Despite a global pandemic, the Labour government managed to support everyone. We can speak of Abela’s legacy, which has resulted in record lowest unemployment, a record of promise of sale agreements… the ability to take decisions,” Ellul said.

And in a John Lennon-like rejoinder, Ellul said he hoped new candidates on either side of the political divide would give the electorate “new hope and love”.

The Labour MP insisted that despite the surveys giving the PL a substantial advantage over the PN, the general election will start at “0-0”.

“We will remain with our feet on the ground,” Ellul said. “The PL is strong not because the PN is weak but because it was able to regenerate itself even in government.”

Journalists comment

Neil Camilleri, editor of The Malta Independent, said it was difficult to see a scenario where people would break the pattern of the past seven years in the next election.

“There has been a feel-good factor and despite the numerous scandals government has faced it managed the economy well and people were left with money in their pocket… government has also managed the COVID pandemic well. The mistake politicians and journalists sometimes make is to underestimate what concerns people,” Camilleri said.

He noted that the Opposition was still saddled by people who were ministers in past PN administrations and are still there aspiring to be ministers again.

“People fear the PN in government will not be close to the people. It focusses too much on issues that are not bread and butter issues,” Camilleri said.

Veteran TVM journalist Mario Xuereb said the forthcoming electoral campaign will see 16-year-old voters voting for the first time and their interests should not be underestimated.

“Politicians will have to find this section of the electorate on Instagram and Twitter… they speak about climate change and the environment,” Xuereb said.