One or two more new faces possible
Casual elections for parliamentary seats can spring surprises,
but not many are expected in the elections that should be held next
week. There could be no new faces in parliament.
Speculation is, however, rife that certain PN parliamentarians, including
ministers and parliamentary secretaries, could contest the Euro Parliamentary
elections, attracted in no small measure by the Euro100,000 yearly salary.
Should parliamentary members be successful, they would pave the way
for more new faces in parliament.
In the PN camp a surprise could be sprung by Anna Schiavone or Franco
Debono in the fifth district, but otherwise expect to see well-known
faces taking up the vacated PN seats. Should either Schiavone or Debono
be elected, these would be new to Maltas parliament.
In the Labour camp a new face could only come from the third district
seat vacated by George Vella, but even in that district former minister
Alfred Portelli could pip the other contestants at the post.
The PN Executive seems to have decided that the seats to be given up
are those that are not the hometowns of the elected parliamentarians,
giving, at least to outsiders, the impression that decisions were not
tactical. However, political observers said the seats given up were
those that paved the way for the politicians that would be least competition
to those within the Executive.
Prof Josef Bonnici and Michael Refalo have already lost
their ministerial positions and even if elected as expected, will find
that parliamentary life on the benches is not exciting as leading a
Should the PN Executive have decided that Louis Galea was to give up
his seat on the seventh district, architect Robert Musumeci would have
been in with a good chance.
It remains unclear, even to Musumeci, on what criteria the particular
seats are held and others made vacant, but Musumeci, although disappointed
not to be in with a chance, trusts the PN Executive to have made the
right choice. Contacted by The Malta Financial and Business Times, Musumeci
said he had been hopeful of a chance of election, but added: "I
respect the decision of the Executive, of course everybody hopes to
get elected, but I am sure the decision was taken after a careful weighing
up of all the options."
Asked whether he would consider contesting the Euro Parliamentary Elections
Musumeci said: "I would never exclude that possibility, always
provided I have the backing of the party."
Former MP Helen DAmato is being considered the favourite to take
Louis Galeas seat in the fifth district, even if she had less
first count votes that Schiavone and only 45 more than Debono. However,
the elected candidate will be the one to garner most votes from those
of Louis Galea and since DAmato is from Siggiewi, as is Galea,
she is expected to win more of his votes. This having been said, Anna
Schiavone inherited marginally more votes from Galea than DAmato
did, so the competition is still on.
In the ninth district John Vella, who has been elected since 1976, is
expected to take the seat vacated by Francis Zammit Dimech. Maltas
man at the Convention on the Future of Europe, Michael Frendo has an
outside chance of election.
The decision to vacate one seat on either the ninth and tenth district
would seem to lesson former parliamentary secretary George Hyzlers
election chances, although he is not without hope.
"On a personal level I would have preferred it had the party given
up two seats in the tenth district, but since I did not participate
in the discussions within the Executive, I trust that the best decision
has been taken," Hyzler told The Malta Financial and Business Times.
Asked whether he would consider contesting the Euro Parliamentary elections,
Hyzler said it was still too early to decide.
The most likely candidates to be elected on the tenth district are former
Ministers Michael Refalo and Michael Frendo.
In the eighth district the seat vacated by Prime Minister Eddie Fenech
Adami will almost certainly be inherited by Josef Bonnici, but Dr Mark
Fenech stands an outside chance. The decision leaves former MP Dr Michael
Axiaq out of the race.
In the Labour camp all seats were given up in the home districts so
that Alfred Sant chose to give up his seat to make way for Joe Debono
Grech, with John Butigieg and Myriam Spiteri Debono having an outside
The loser was Sandro Schembri Adami who would almost certainly be elected
on the first district had the former prime minister decided to give
that seat up.
Former deputy leader George Vella is giving up his seat in the third
district and there will be a big struggle for that seat with Joe Abela,
Chris Agius, Jesmar Baldacchino, Owen Bonnici, Alfred Portelli and Rosario
Zammit in with a chance. Here parliament could welcome a rookie unless
Portelli is elected as he has already served as a minister.
The big loser is former Minister for Health Louis Buhagiar, since it
was decided that Vella is to retain his fifth district seat, where Buhagiar
was next in line.
Evarist Bartolo, it was decided, will give up his home tenth district
seat paving the way for Joe Cuschieri who was obviously preferred to
Tony Agius Decelis.