03 March 2004

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The leadership campaign’s final launch

Time for tough decisions

The election last Saturday of Dr Lawrence Gonzi as the leader of the Nationalist Party vindicated the boys at Pieta, the establishment, and the PN party clan who prefer safe bet and a clone of outgoing PM Eddie Fenech Adami.
The other main contender, John Dalli, has been blistered and bruised. His uphill battles were smouldered with a dirty tricks campaign that was unleashed in the last two days.
They involved phone calls from fellow MP’s who made certain allegations.
Others, including two very well known councillors from Sliema, made it a point to remind other councillors of the Daewoo case. A case intermittently utilised by the Labour media machine in these last years, even though no proof of wrongdoing was ever confirmed.
When the real facts surface there will be a bounty of recriminations, but very few explanations.
The cherry on the cake has to go to the timely presentation of a survey just a day before the election by Where’s Everybody, a business organisation that today can be labelled as the king-makers of Malta, or the apparent defenders of the status quo.
John Dalli promised change, reform and solutions. He also was greatly respected for his economic prowess and his robust way of dealing with matters.
But his 10-year image as the taxman and his motivation to generate revenue for government earned him little respect from the public in general.
This nation has lost an opportunity, the naïve gullible Joe Bloggs welcome Lawrence Gonzi and truly believe that he can be a salvation to our future.
It may be so and we would very much wish it so.
There are rumours that John Dalli may very well leave politics all together. One would hope not, at 55 he has still a great deal to offer. He has been seriously let down by his own party, most of all by the party men who run the Pieta office and who have waged a relentless war and rumour campaign against him in no uncertain terms in full view of their peers.
But this is a time for reason.
If the party truly values talent and energy, then Lawrence Gonzi has a golden opportunity to prove that he has the foresight to utilise one of the better elements in the party.
If the party is to have a deputy leader who is replica of Lawrence Gonzi in the form of Tonio Borg, then so be it. But then one should not wonder if this country will start to resemble a Trabant*.
If Dr Gonzi is intent on using the best elements to bring the party together then he should make the best use of someone who can co-ordinate, organise, put vision into practise, apply innovation and makes dreams a reality.
Dr Gonzi’s assertions, so wonderfully described by his acolytes, can now finally be put to test.
This is a time for wise and calm decisions without the need to leave cracks (konsenturi)!

*Trabant was the official people’s car mass-produced by the East German communist government

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Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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