Leadership contestants say Labour
should vote down treaty
When the spotlights at the MLP headquarters are turned on tomorrow for
the leadership contest, party delegates will be choosing from three
contenders who all believe that the Labour parliamentary group should
vote against the Accession Treaty when it comes up for ratification
However, none of the leadership contenders is contemplating the withdrawal
of Malta from the EU, opting to steer the party within the new circumstances
created by EU membership.
Incumbent leader Alfred Sant and contestant Anglu Farrugia have both
declared that they would align the party to the European socialist group
within the EU Parliament, dispelling any notion of Labour grouping up
with the fringe parties belonging to the eurosceptic EDD.
On Monday, Super One television broadcast three separate addresses from
the contestants, in which they spelled out their vision for the party.
The broadcast, using the same theme that was used for the 1 May demonstration
in Valletta, which marked the launch of Alfred Sants campaign,
went on air at prime time.
Alfred Sant was the first to deliver his address. Sitting down and looking
very composed Sant constantly addressed party delegates and in a speech
that lacked an apology for past mistakes insisted on the need for more
internal dialogue within the party.
But in the way of innovative proposals for the years to come, Sant could
only muster three initiatives, two of which attempt to skirt around
the credibility problem Labour has with the independent media.
If re-elected leader of the party Sant promised to spur the creation
of a Labour Party owned English-language newspaper and another Maltese-language
The incumbent also proposed the holding of party delegate assemblies
twice yearly so delegates could meet the leadership of the party and
express their concerns and proposals, away from the prying eyes of the
Sant added that the Labour Party must be strong in its convictions but
also calm. He insisted that on the issue of warships visiting Malta
the party should shortly organise a public protest to show its disapproval.
Meanwhile, leadership contender John Attard Montalto focussed his speech
on what he described as the qualities that make a good leader: courage,
credibility, consistency and charisma.
Steering away from attacking Sants leadership style the undertone
of Attard Montaltos message was as clear as can get: the party
needs to reform itself to be able to attract both the Labourites that
deserted it and new voters.
The lawyer, who was the first to announce his intention of contesting
the post of leader soon after the 12 April electoral result was prompt
to apologise for being so brash about the need for change so close to
the electoral result. Evidently addressing the adverse reaction Labourites
had to his announcement from the Ta Qali counting hall, Attard
Montalto said that he had good intentions and wanted the party to be
electable once again.
He closed his speech with a strange declaration, which might not go
down all too well with delegates in search of a strong leader. Attard
Montalto said that he only wanted one chance to get the Labour Party
in government and if he did not manage he would resign. In an attempt
to dispel rumours that he wanted to contest because of his personal
ambition to become prime minister, Attard Montalto said that he was
ready to lead the Labour Party to victory and then refrain from becoming
The third contestant in the race, Anglu Farrugia started off being a
little jittery but improved his performance to reach a thundering climax
in which he appealed for change in the party.
Farrugia insisted for more than once that the Labour Party could not
continue to lose one election after the other. Labourites are demoralised,
he said. Farrugia spoke about the need for the party to be inclusive
and argued against the formation of cliques, which were harming the
party. Discipline was an often used word by the former police officer.
On the issue of visiting warships, Farrugia said that it was a shame
for the party to have remained silent. The Mosta lawyer ended his address
by appealing to party delegates to think rationally and not to be afraid