George Abela very possible
Close aides and supporters to former MLP deputy leader George Abela
yesterday told The Malta Financial and Business Times that Abela was
interested in the post of leader vacated by Alfred Sant.
The aides told this newspaper that Abela had substantial support among
the grassroots and delegates of the party. Another party delegate however,
expressed concern that the partys official structures are stacked
against the charismatic lawyer.
Abela has often been mentioned as a possible contender even though he
has remained silent on the policies of the Labour Party since his 1998
debacle when he left the party.
It is widely believed that Abela would be the ideal person to head a
new Labour Party in favour of EU membership because he has been involved
from day one in the negotiating process. Nobody in the MLP is as informed
as Abela on the intricacies of the negotiations with the EU.
It is also being rumoured that General Workers Union officials
have been pushing George Abela to accept the leadership post. However,
this newspaper could neither confirm nor deny these rumours.
The fortunes of two other people within the Labour Party are closely
tied to the decision George Abela will take. Party delegates speaking
to this newspaper expressed their support for Marie-Louise Coleiro,
however, they insisted that what she does is highly dependent on the
decision that George Abela makes.
Coleiro, who has her electoral base in Qormi, is considered to be in
the same clan as former finance minister Lino Spiteri and George Abela
- both with roots in Qormi.
Coleiro polled an incredible 4,439 votes on the sixth district on Saturday.
The other person being mentioned in conjunction with the fortunes of
Abela is MLP election manager Michael Falzon. In 1998 Falzon had expressed
the same sentiments as those of George Abela against the holding of
an early general election.
It is rumoured that with George Abela at the helm, Michael Falzon may
opt to contest the post of deputy leader or secretary general.
Meanwhile, other contenders include John Attard Montalto and Jose Herrera,
who have both publicly stated their intention of contesting the post
Another possible contender is former police officer and lawyer Anglu
Farrugia. However, the Mosta lawyer has not taken a decision and when
contacted by this newspaper he simply opted for a no comment.
MLP delegates speaking to this newspaper also expressed their wish that
former education minister Evarist Bartolo contest the leadership post.
Bartolo appeals to middle class voters and despite being in Sants
inner ring of collaborators he took a back benchers role in the election
Outside contenders include Karmenu Vella and Charles Mangion. The former
will most probably opt not to contest given the high profile job he
has at Corinthia, while Mangion did not exclude anything when contacted
by another section of the online press.
But the final outcome may well depend on what Alfred Sant intends to
do. Although Sant said he does not intend to contest the post of leadership
it is unclear whether he will try to nominate someone in his stead.
A party delegate cautioned that the outcome could depend on who Sant
throws his weight behind and whether he declares it publicly.
Deputy leaders George Vella and Joe Brincat have not yet declared their
intentions although it is widely expected that they would tender their
resignations as well.
The general feeling among MLP delegates and supporters is a wait and
see attitude. The general conference is not due for four to five weeks
and the possible contenders are sounding out their sorts among the delegates.
The ultimate decision rests with the 700 or so party delegates.