MaltaToday | 06 April 2008 | Abela to hold mass rally in red hot Bormla

NEWS | Sunday, 06 April 2008

Abela to hold mass rally in red hot Bormla

Karl Schembri

A defiant George Abela will be going to the traditional Labour bastion of Bormla next Sunday to address the crowds in his first mass rally in the run-up to the leadership election.
Against the backdrop of Dock No. 1 and metres away from the Cottonera marina that brought down the Labour government in 1998, Abela will be speaking to delegates, members and the public in “an open rally” to be held at the Bormla Regatta Club at Xatt ir-Rizq.
The place itself is suggestive of the party’s historic highs and lows – from the momentous Mintoff speeches rallying the crowds, to Sant’s sensational denunciation of il-perit as “a traitor”.
It will be the first in a series of Sunday morning events Abela will be organising until the first week of June, when the party gets together to elect its leader.
“I’m full of courage thanks to the feedback I’m getting from delegates, members, MPs and candidates,” Abela said yesterday. “My first rally will be in Bormla, I will go back to the core to listen and discuss, and I want to this out in the open.”
The event, which will start at 10.30am, will be held following a week of daily meetings Abela is expected to hold in Labour clubs around the islands launching his campaign.
Last Wednesday, Abela told MaltaToday Midweek he was determined to push forward his name in the leadership contest in what is turning into a veritable obstacle race for the former MLP deputy leader for party affairs.
The day after, the party’s electoral commission, headed by Joe Falzon, informed him and the other declared contenders that there was a total media ban precluding them from making any sort of statements to the press following “instructions” from the party’s disciplinary board and the board of appeals.
The inexplicable decision outraged the contenders, but it survived less than 24 hours as by Friday morning, Falzon revoked his own decision turning the leadership election process into a clumsy public show.
Meanwhile delegates and party members are collecting signatures calling for an extraordinary general conference with a view to opening the leadership vote to all members, beyond the 900 delegates.
“I’m meeting lots of people who want the party to open up and represent them,” Abela said. “The people in the street want the delegates to reflect their wishes, to open the election to all members and get the rank and file to participate in this important decision. I’m very much encouraged by the support I’m getting and I intend to go on.”
The four other confirmed contenders so far are Michael Falzon, Evarist Bartolo, Joseph Muscat and Marie Louise Coleiro Preca.
Abela spoke of the power of the incumbents in the party – a criticism used by Sant against the government after the electoral defeat – whose manoeuvrings work against his candidature and that of others.
“The party machinery is not fair; it’s a pseudo race that gives an unfair advantage to those who are already in power,” Abela said. “All I want is a fair and transparent race.”

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