Story • January 11 2004
Plan to co-opt Michael Falzon
Labour minister John Attard Montalto has his eyes set on Brussels and
for good reason, being in the best position to collect most votes from
Labour supporters when the European Parliament elections are held next
The MP, who drives a white Mercedes convertible licensed JAM-007, recently
launched a Christmas card campaign targeting about 100,000 households,
featuring him decked in his oft-worn white sports jacket. The cards
are estimated to have set him back Lm8,000.
Aides say this is only the tip of the iceberg as JAM’s campaign
is bound to intensify in the months to come.
However, the campaign to see Attard Montalto elected to the European
Parliament is not solely about the MP’s political future in Brussels.
His election to the EP may open the way for the entry of Labour deputy
leader Michael Falzon into the House of Representatives.
Dr Michael Falzon’s aides have long understood that a seat in parliament
would boost his chances at clinching the Labour Party leadership, having
learnt their lesson from former deputy leader Gorg Abela’s mistake,
who never showed interest in the influential parliamentary seat.
The departure of the vain, but much loved Attard Montalto, can open
the way for relatively unknown Labour candidate Roderick Galdes to enter
the House of Representatives through the sixth district by-election.
The young Galdes is an employee with MEPA and also the mayor of Qormi.
There are no other runners in the district since the only Labour contenders
for the vacated seat - Joe Debono Grech and Gavin Gulia – were
already elected to parliament in other districts. The by-election would
automatically kick Mr Galdes into the Labour MP club.
It is now apparent that Michael Falzon’s aides are toying with
the idea of offering Galdes a director’s post at Super One in return
for not contesting John Attard Montalto’s vacated seat, paving
the way for Michael Falzon’s co-option to parliament.
The solemn looking lawyer who started his career as a legal advisor
to Lohombus Bank is highly respected by the lower echelons of the Labour
Party. He still has a strong grip on the organisational aspect of the
elections, an influential post that allows him to keep in constant contact
with the Labour grassroots. Alfred Sant’s faction is showing signs
of growing concern, with Falzon’s ambition for leadership strengthened
by the likely prospect of his parliamentary co-option.