18 February 2004

Search all issues

powered by FreeFind

Send Your Feedback!

Gonzi plays campaign ‘tough’ card

By Kurt Sansone
It was a tough-talking Lawrence Gonzi who started week two of the PN leadership campaign by showing his mettle as minister with a zero-tolerance policy towards abuse in social services.
After having spent Sunday in Gozo meeting PN councillors on a one-to-one basis, Gonzi addressed a press conference on Monday during which he spilled the beans on an investigation carried out by his ministry on abuses in sickness benefit claims.
Gonzi said government intends saving around Lm1.5 million in sickness benefits after investigations revealed a substantial number of abusive claims.
The bold statement came at a time when the issue of decisiveness is increasingly playing an important role in the PN leadership campaign. The tough talk was intended to counter the general perception that Gonzi is weak in front of unpopular decisions that need to be taken.
Decisiveness has often been ascribed to John Dalli but the findings of a survey commissioned by The Malta Financial and Business Times, published for the first time in sister newspaper MaltaToday last Sunday, surprisingly shattered Gonzi’s image of ‘weakness’.
Despite showing John Dalli gaining ground on Gonzi, the survey, conducted among PN grass roots activists revealed that Gonzi is considered to be better suited to take tough decisions.
Meanwhile, the deputy prime minister has opted for a relatively low profile media campaign in contrast with his rival contenders. While John Dalli and Louis Galea are doing the rounds addressing councillors and activists at various party clubs in the presence of the media, Gonzi has not extended his campaign territory to the locality clubs. Instead, Gonzi is meeting councillors on a personal basis, a tactic utilised by the other two contenders as well.
On Saturday at the launch of his campaign, Gonzi said that he had already met 25 per cent of councillors in the first week of campaigning.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
Tel: (356) 21382741-3, 21382745-6 | Fax: (356) 21385075 | E-mail