12 November 2003

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Labour MEP nominations spring surprise names

By Kurt Sansone
The nominations for candidates interested in contesting the election for the European Parliament on behalf of the Labour Party closed yesterday and the list includes the surprise names of Super One head of news Gino Cauchi, and journalist Glenn Beddingfield.
Both Cauchi and Beddingfield were not previously indicated as possible contestants and their names came as a surprise to many.
Former party president Manuel Cuschieri also filed his nomination after failing to retain his post in the MLP administration.
The list of candidates includes former Air Malta chairman Louis Grech, who will be entering the political fray for the first time. Former secretary general Jimmy Magro, the first to publicly launch his personal MEP campaign.

As was widely expected, former administration official Joseph Muscat also added his name to the list of prospective candidates. The only Labour MP to file his nomination was John Attard Montalto, who currently serves as the MLP observer to the European Parliament alongside former foreign minister George Vella.
The other persons in the list are Gozitan Anton Attard, former MP Sandro Schembri Adami and former No2EU campaigner Sharon Ellul Bonnici.
However, the latter does not enjoy much support within the party structures because of her links with EU-sceptical movements, The Malta Financial and Business Times was told.
All candidates will be scrutinised by the Vigilance and Discipline Board today and tomorrow after which the candidature passes on to the administration and the national executive.
The final approval will take place on Tuesday 18 November when the MLP general conference will be asked to vote for the eight preferred candidates that will make it on the final ticket for the June election.
Amendments approved in the general conference held over the weekend stipulate that to be approved a candidate must obtain at least 70 per cent of the votes in a general conference.
The selection process has been described as a rigorous one and candidates have to reach the required standard, The Malta Financial and Business Times was told by party delegates canvassing for some of the candidates.
The Labour Party was the second political party after Alternattiva Demokratika to kick off the internal process to select its candidates. Last month, The Green Party approved Prof. Arnold Cassola as its sole candidate for the European Parliament elections.
As yet the Nationalist Party has given no sign on when it intends to decide on the issue.
A couple of independent candidates have also spoken of their intention to contest the EP election including former Labour candidate and men’s rights lawyer Emmy Bezzina.
The election for the five Maltese Members of the European Parliament will be held in June next year and all Malta will be considered as one district.kurt@maltamag.com



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Editor: Saviour Balzan
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