A week. It’s a damn long time in politics. I watched with a heavy heart as coalition talks between Alternattiva Demokratika and the Nationalist Party disintegrated. I had already set out my ideas on what should ideally have happened. The moment in time that we are living requires extraordinary moves by extraordinary people. The nation is desperately in need of a political wave of change that transcends any individual party’s interest.

So yes. When the news came out that AD and PN had not found a common ground I was angry. I’ve seen the chronological account given by Alternattiva’s members. I’ve also tried to understand the main reasons given by nationalist party. The impression I get is that on both sides there are quite large factions who are unable to step up to the occasion and understand the immediacy and urgency of the problems that this nation are facing.

AD

Let’s look at AD first. Here they were with a huge chance of getting one of the two behemoths of Maltese politics to commit to a common programme. They knew that, like them, the PN was first and foremost interested in getting the corrupt clan out of Castille. They knew that they had a common ground on this matter of cleaning up politics. This was their trojan horse – their chance to work on a wider agenda of reform. Did they sit at the negotiating table with an open mind or with more red lines than was feasible to come to a compromise?

With hindsight and having seen the “Qawsalla” proposal I detect a bit more intransigence than was necessary at that stage. Too much mistrust was built over the years and maybe, just maybe, AD was seeing the PN in what appeared to be a weak position and therefore they tried to go for the overkill. To the third party observing the battle it seemed like payback time. The PN name had to go. It did help that there was a logic in the reasoning and that the idea was doable on paper but putting this as a deal breaker was tantamount to putting a petard under the proceedings from the start. That might be what some AD die-hards full of rancour at the PN might want but this is neither here nor there – it does not help in the battle against the incumbent and it does not contribute to any possible discussions on change in the future.

PN

Now for the Nationalist Party. There has been much talk about whether the PN was caught unawares by the early election call. Most of the talk is rubbish because it dismisses the recent developments from within the party when it comes to proposals on transport, on the environment, on small business and the economy and on other things. The veneer of electoral preparation was almost there. The PN had been gearing for election anyway – the shock announcement might have just sped up some of its machinery into action.

I do however believe that the PN was unprepared for the election in another way. The PN is unprepared because it had not had enough time to metamorphose into a real party of values. You only have to listen to the discourse in the rallies, in the meetings in the kazini. It’s all about “il-Partit nazzjonalista this and that”. Only an hour ago I was listening to Claudio Grech speaking from Santa Venera and the discourse is all the chiaro-scuro, us and them, “remember what the nationalists havemdone for us”.

All this betrays a lack of understanding of the real predicament of the nation. It betrays a lack of assumption of responsibilities that should be combined with a willingness to change.

When the coaltion with the PD was announced Simon Busuttil was flanked by six or seven persons whom he described as representing the highest echelons of his party. The parties in lilliput need a leader, two vice leaders, one chairman of executive this, one chairman of administrative that and one probably to make the coffee. The party. The risk is always there that people are not understanding the message of this election – the crucial nature of the change that is needed – because they cling to old ideas of alternation. It is the kind that is ingrained with “good vs bad”, “us vs them”.

It’s dangerous. Very dangerous. It is so especially because this time round we cannot do without voting for the nationalist party to get corruption out of our system. The onus therefore lies on the nationalist party to be convinced about the changes that need to be brought in from day one. The coalition with Marlene Farrugia’s PD gives us a ray of hope that someone in the new formation will be hoding them accountable. Pity AD are not there too.

Which brings me to the matter of how the nationalist party dealt with the coalition talks with AD. You could sense the supercilious arrogance oozing through the statements of some exponents of the party. Comments on size and votes in the past betrayed the fact that lessons still had to be learnt about the how and why our politics works. As I argued in an earlier post not much was being asked of the PN to show a commitment to a wider coalition that transcends the single party. This test was failed and failed miserably judging by the reactions to AD by the same exponents mentioned earlier.

What now?

We are here though. At a crossroads. The battle has only just begun and the day of reckoning has been fixed. We see a nationalist party trying to battle the monster of deceipt that holds the nation in ransom. It’s going to get tougher as the earth is promised by the incumbent in order to save his skin. Forza Nazzjonali has become the last chance to get the change going against all odds.

Its members must begin to realise that they do not only represent their respective parties but also the hopes of a much wider swathe of population that goes beyond the flag waving hardcore. That swathe of population has had enough of the old republic. They expect real change and reform. We all do.

If we care for our country, if we care for real change and reform we can only but put our weight behind Forza Nazzjonali. We do so with the solemn promise that should we be successful in or endeavour to get this movement into government then that will only be the beginning. For every day on from the 4th of June we will hold the new government to its word: constitutional and electoral reform. We will not be silenced by mere talk of discussions that threaten to drag on for five years.

No dilly dallying, no excuses. No returning to the needs of the party. In order to change the whole system even the parties themselves must change. It is a tall order. It is probably also our last chance before the nation descends into the level of a tin pot dictatorship.

Hopefully, for the last time, many will have the courage and goodwill to hold their nose and vote nationalist.

“Turiamoci il naso e votiamo PN” (con tant scuse a Salvemini e Montanelli).


2 thoughts on “After the Coalition: Vote Forza Nazzjonali

  1. It is evident that the PN(PD) and AD, all believe (or at least hope), that MuscatPL will be losing a substantial number of votes. Most probably the overriding priorities of a significant number of voters are:
    – Get rid of Joseph Muscat & Pananagang, which by default makes Simon Busuttil prime minister
    – Elect PD and preferably also AD candidates to parliament, so that the PN will not enjoy an absolute majority of seats – thus enabling PD & AD to hold the PN lead government to account, so that the pledged changes may be factually implemented.

    The fact that the PN & AD (I wonder where PD were), did not hammer out an agreement over the pre-electoral alliance, could be an opportunity to assess whether the PN(PD) and AD share the above priorities.

    Simon Busuttil declared, in no uncertain terms, that he wants Marlene Farrugia to overlook his actions as PM, so as to ascertain the he remains faithful to the recommendable pledges being made, about electoral reform, transparency, good governance and the environment.
    In order for Marlene (PD) to do so, she will either need to be elected or (awkwardly) co-opted. Marlene has proven herself to be a no nonsense politician and calls a spade a spade. Nonetheless having also a third party, say of Carmel Cacopardo’s proven integrity, also holding Busuttil and a PN lead (coalition) government to account, would constitute a unique triad that should avoid the usual absurd polarised zero-sum stalemate of one side contradicting the other. Hopefully both PD&AD have realised that their failure to present a common stand in the pre-election negotiations with the PN, has undermined both, and the PN may adopt an inevitable bossier attitude in government.

    In this regard, to safeguard the above priorities – unless obviously Joseph Muscat secures an absolute majority of votes & seats – the PN(PD)&AD tandem should consider having:
    – AD reliving their finest hour and call voters to preferably give their 1st preference to credible PD/PN candidates under the PN list, and their 2nd preference to AD
    – PD calling for voters to follow AD’s strategic voting pattern
    – and most crucially, Simon Busuttil and his PN still partly rotten machine, should seek redemption for backstabbing AD in 2003, and this time round call their voters to give their 2nd preference to AD as well (at least on one or two districts in which AD has historically fared well)

    This unorthodox but strategic voting pattern in the current exceptional circumstances, will:
    – reinforce the (wider) Forza Nazzjonali against corruption that the PN is harping on,
    – ensures that any 1st preference votes AD will garner from scandalised Labourites will be effective, whilst also encouraging such Labourites to vote AD rather than abstain or be browbeaten to vote PL again.
    – neutralises Article 52(1)ii of the Constitution, thus Joseph Muscat will be unable to cling to power by a relative majority (as Gonzi did, in 2008)
    – provides Simon Busuttil, not only PD’s but also AD’s eyes and no strings attached honest contribution, to wardoff the usual major party’s vices, enabling a PN lead government remain on track, and implement the radical changes that most voters yearn to see, so that no future government can threat their children’s democracy and serenity.
    It’s a hard bullet to bite for the PN, whereas historically, AD has already proven itself to do its part.
    Faced with another 5 years of Joseph Muscat e bella compagnia, let Simon Busuttil prove what his real priorities are.

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