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Top Story • January 11 2004

Plan to co-opt Michael Falzon

Former 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 June.
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.

Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann SGN 02, Malta