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MW 13 September 2017

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maltatoday, WEDNESDAY, 13 SEPTEMBER 2017 4 Opinion I love my country. It gave me everything that I have and made me who I am. Nothing ever filled me with more satisfaction than contributing to the progress of my country and that of our people. I took politics seriously from a young age – as a student representative, as a local councillor, a mayor for nine years, a Parliamentary Secretary and a Minister. Surely I made mistakes along the way but I have learnt from each and every one of them. I gave my all in any position of responsibility I held and I am proud to look back at what I have achieved. Politics has always been for me a means to give back. It was always an opportunity to better the lives of those around me, to exchange the trust shown in me with hard work and results. In three days' time, the Nationalist Party will have a new leader. In the history of any party, the election of a new leader marks the beginning of a new chapter. The choice for our 21,500 members this coming Saturday cannot be clearer. I am proposing a pro-active and forward-looking party, with modernised structures and constantly at the heart of our society, to present an ambitious programme for the country based on the values we cherish. I want to lead a party that is recognised for its integrity, honesty and accountability. Whenever the next general election is held, I want to give the country a very clear choice – not between two shades of the same colour, but a stark contrast between what is opportunistic, short-sighted, corrupt and inherently wrong and what is respectful, genuine, sustainable and right. I am not seeking the party leadership to reach a personal or political peak. For me it has never been an adventure. Having climbed through the party structures and with the support of hundreds of genuine people, I put my name forward out of duty towards the party and the country I love. I want the Nationalist Party to be home to all the hard-working and genuine people of this country, ref lecting their priorities, cherishing what they hold dear, addressing their needs and reaching their aspirations. If I am given the privilege of a lifetime to be the leader of this great party, I will start, on Saturday, to unite this party under one banner – that of genuine politics. I will open the doors for all those who share our values and lead the way to become the strong opposition and government-in- waiting this country desperately needs. With me as leader of the Nationalist Party, Muscat is in for a ride he'd rather not take. With three days to go to the final vote, I'm turning to our activists and asking for their support. The task ahead is not easy. With Labour's two big electoral victories, the calls for the Nationalist Party to go down the short-sighted lane and become Labour Mark II have been heard and, in some quarters, supported. But my position is clear – if the only way we can see ourselves winning is by imitating the party that stands for everything that we don't, then, our place is clearly not in the Nationalist Party. If, instead, we want to rebuild our party based on the values that have always guided it, the values ingrained in the party by Eddie Fenech Adami – the search for the common good, the respect for the dignity of each and every one of us, solidarity, honesty, integrity and accountability – then, there is a bright future waiting for us. Saturday will be the day when we reaffirm what we stand for as a party and on which values we want to push this country forward. I am confident that the majority of our members want the Nationalist Party to remain a beacon of decency and the natural home for those who seek what is right. We will not be perfect and we will surely make mistakes along the way. But we will always be honest with our people and true to who we are. Our ambition will be one – that of seeing this country prosper in ways that make us proud, ensuring that the sustainable wealth it generates is shared with everyone, so that no one is ever left behind. Chris Said is contesting the election to become the next leader of the Nationalist Party The way forward By Chris Said PN LEADERSHIP ELECTION With me as leader of the Nationalist Party, Muscat is in for a ride he'd rather not take I am confident that the majority of our members want the Nationalist Party to remain a beacon of decency

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