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MT 25 May 2017

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maltatoday, THURSDAY, 25 MAY 2017 15 How did you first get involved in politics? My first significant political involvement was in the cam- paign for Malta's membership in the European Union. At the time, I was serving as President of the National Youth Coun- cil, an umbrella organization representing Maltese youths across the political divide. Which part of the political life appeals to you? Contributing to improve peo- ple's lives has always been my aim in politics. I have already had the privilege to do so in my role as Mayor of Siġġiewi for the past five years. Now I look forward to do the same and much more as a Member of Parliament representing not only Siġġiewi but also Qormi, Luqa and the localities form- ing part of the 10th District. It would be a great privilege and an honour to have the expe- rience and opportunity to represent my constituents in the highest institution of our country in what is bound to be an eventful five-year term. Why PN? I subscribe to PN's values and I believe that these serve the country best. The Na- tionalist Party has a proven track record, competence and commitment in job creation, health, education and environ- ment protection. It is also clear that the Nationalist Party is the only party with an over-riding plan to fight institutionalised corruption, making it the right choice in this critical juncture our country is facing. If elected, what do you per- sonally hope to change? I hope to contribute towards the development of a more consensual approach in public life. My experience on a local council level dictates that this is more possible than it would appear to be and is very benefi- cial. I strongly believe that an honest politician should stick to his political beliefs whilst being receptive to the views and knowledge of others. Based on your door-to-door encounters, what are the top three concerns of families? Corruption, dishonesty and the damage being done to Malta's reputation and its im- pact on people's livelihood. People are extremely worried about the ongoing political cri- sis which has not only led to a snap election but also to a pe- riod of political and economic instability. They are also wor- ried about the long-term con- sequences all this will have on crucial areas of our economy such as the financial services, gaming and construction in- dustry. The PN said that this elec- tion is going to be fought on principles: what do you think matters most to the elector- ate? The electorate longs for an honest politician who can steer our country in the right direc- tion and do away with political machinations and partisan de- cisions. I believe that the right man for this job is Simon Bu- suttil, an honest and dedicat- ed politician who has what it takes to be Malta's next Prime Minister. The Labour Party is accus- ing the PN of presenting pro- posals which are either not costed or which have already been proposed/implemented by the Labour government. Do you think that this is fair criticism? The PN has put together sound and viable electoral pro- posals aimed at ensuring eco- nomic growth, social cohesion and good governance. The ac- cusation that the PN's propos- als are not costed is simply not true. I hope that Labour does not think that a measure pro- posed by them becomes wrong if and when the PN improves it. The PN has many a times criticised the Labour govern- ment of having given indi- viduals jobs and positions, disregarding the principle of meritocracy. How would a PN government ensure that jobs are not given to individuals simply because of their politi- cal affiliation? Besides the promised mecha- nism for the appointment of key posts following a Parlia- mentary qualified majority, a PN-led administration will not place its Members of Par- liament to chair public bodies nor will it interfere in the se- lection processes. Which, in your opinion, was the government's best deci- sion and worst mistake over the past four years? The best decision was the re- moval of prescription on acts of political corruption. The government's worst mistake was its deliberate decision to squander the opportunity, provided by the huge majority and good will it enjoyed, to im- prove governance. Which, in your opinion, was the opposition's best decision and worst mistake over the past four years? The opposition's best deci- sion was to put together a document with 100 propos- als on sound and accountable governance. The worst mis- take was to give the benefit of the doubt to Joseph Muscat in some instances of the legisla- ture when it was evident that the man was in it for his own personal gain. Meet the candidates It is also clear that the Nationalist Party is the only party with an over-riding plan to fight institutionalised corruption The electorate longs for an honest politician who can steer our country in the right direction Siggiewi mayor Karol Aquilina wants to move from local government to national politics. He insists that it is possible to stick to one's own beliefs while being receptive to other people's ideas and beliefs Sticking to political beliefs

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