MaltaToday previous editions

MT 18 September 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 5 of 59

maltatoday, SUNDAY, 18 SEPTEMBER 2016 6 News JURGEN BALZAN WITH a forthcoming general elec- tion most likely to be held in 2018, Labour could be set for a second term unless the accident-prone administration hits the self-de- struct button. But, irrespectively of which party wins, the one change which is in- evitable for that year is a genera- tional composition of the Maltese parliament. The remote possibility of hav- ing a third party elect a seat would shake up the system, but it is more likely that changes will only take place within the realms of the Labour and PN parliamentary groups. Already this legislature has seen the departure of five MPs, with Leo Brincat's imminent appoint- ment on the European Court of Auditors expected to lead to the sixth by-election in just over three years. The departure of former PN leader Lawrence Gonzi, former health minister Joe Cassar and Al- bert Fenech on the PN's side and the promotions given to Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Karmenu Vella and now Leo Brincat from within Labour's ranks will lead to a generational change on both sides of the political divide, especially if a number of veteran MPs call it a day. To a certain extent, the 2013 election brought a minor genera- tional change with 23 candidates elected for the first time ever. However, both parties retained a number of political heavyweights who have served as MPs in multi- ple legislatures. The end of the old guard? Since winning the 2013 election, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has kicked upstairs three veteran MPs, namely Marie Louise Colei- ro Preca, Karmenu Vella and Leo Brincat, who together with foreign minister George Vella, education minister Evarist Bartolo and the longest-serving MP Joe Debono Grech formed the party's old guard. Vella, first elected in 1978, and 77-year-old Debono Grech, who has been elected in every election since 1966, have already indicated that they will not seek re-election, while Bartolo's intentions are not yet clear. Question marks might hinge on deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech – who earlier this year un- derwent major surgery – and La- bour whip Godfrey Farrugia, the latter having resigned from health minister and also endured the de- parture of his partner Marlene Far- rugia, from the Labour backbench. While Grech's decision hinges on his health, Farrugia finds him- self in an uncomfortable position given that his partner Marlene Farrugia – who was also elected on the Labour ticket – quit the party while hanging on to her seat and created a new political formation, Partit Demokratiku. The exit of the old guard will not only free up space for new faces, but internal opposition to Mus- cat's pro-business and neoliberal policies will all but fade away. Apart from opening vacancies for new MPs, these exits will lead to a lot of internal jostling between current MPs who will seek to strengthen their footholds in their electoral districts, and possibly at- tempt to fill in the vacuums left behind by heavyweights in other districts. Unlike the PN, Labour has yet to officially announce its newly ap- proved candidates but a number of individuals have already started campaigning at a local level. Can Busuttil stamp his mark on PN? On the other hand, PN leader Simon Busuttil could use the next election to stamp his mark on the party. Upon taking over as PN leader following the calamitous 2013 defeat, Busuttil inherited a par- liamentary group made up of po- Next election will see generational change If Leo Brincat's nomination is approved by the European Council he will be the sixth MP to have departed from the House this legislature. As the heavyweights leave their districts, the election stage is set for some major fights David Thake: the PN's radio jock and tormentor of Labourites wants to be an MP Owen Bonnici and Franco Debono: in the remote possibility that Labour extends Debono an invitation to run for MP, it would provoke a bitter rivalry with Bonnici

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of MaltaToday previous editions - MT 18 September 2016