MaltaToday, 16 April 2008 | Labour leadership


NEWS | Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Labour leadership

Marlene Pullicino supports Abela, Adrian Vassallo wants members to vote

Former Nationalist candidate and newly elected Labour MP Marlene Pullicino is backing George Abela’s candidature.
“Abela has the required qualities and experience to act as a bridge between that section of the electorate which always voted for the MLP and that section of the electorate which wishes to vote for the MLP but could not do so because the party did not appeal to them.”
She praised Abela for his stance in favour of full EU membership, and said she supports the election of the leader by party members. “If all members are given the vote, there will be no more room for cliques in the party.”
While supporting Abela, Pullicino promised to work with any leader chosen for the post. “All the candidates contesting for the post are valid and I am willing to work with anyone chosen by the party.”
And although present for Abela’s public meeting in Bormla last Sunday, the conservative Labour MP Adrian Vassallo would not pronounce himself a supporter of his leadership bid, even if he backs the call to widen the vote in the leadership contest to party members.
“I only attended to listen and to ask questions to George Abela. I am not supporting anyone and if other candidates organise similar meetings which are open to the public I will also attend.”
In fact during the meeting Vassallo simply asked Abela whether he had ever served as a consultant to former Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami. Abela replied that Alfred Sant was the only prime minister he had ever served as consultant and that his role in MEUSAC, was to safeguard the social and legal rights of workers.
Vassallo, who signed the petition calling for an extraordinary meeting to change the Labour election rules, argues that the election of the party leader by members is more democratic.
“It does not make any sense to have debates and interviews on the party’s TV station aimed at the general public and then restrict the election to party delegates.”
Vassallo also said the entire Labour administration, including the secretary-general, should offer their resignation. He denied rumours of being irked by MEP Joseph Muscat’s pro-divorce stance during TV programme Dissett. “As long as the party leader allows a free vote on this issue, I have no problem working with anyone.”

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