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NEWS | Sunday, 27 April 2008

Abela pledges loyalty

Charlot Zahra

Labour MP Carmelo Abela yesterday launched his bid for the post of Labour deputy leader for parliamentary affairs with a pledge to serve whoever is elected party leader on June 5.
“During this campaign for this post I am not going to make alliances with persons who are going to contest for other posts. I will work and be loyal to those who will be chosen,” Abela said at a press conference at the Kastell Wine Bar in Tarxien yesterday morning.
Asked whether he agreed with the motion presented by Labour MP Marlene Pullicino to widen the voting base for the party leadership posts to the 19,000 paid-up members, Abela did not commit himself.
“I have my own opinion on that but I will give it within the party structures”, the 38-year-old Zejtun MP, who in the outgoing legislature served as deputy Speaker, said.
Abela said he was against the Government’s proposal to nominate an Opposition MP to serve as Speaker.
He explained that given the circumstances where the government enjoys a wafer-thin majority of just one member, this proposal would weaken the Opposition’s strength as it would increase the Government’s majority to two as the Speaker loses his original vote.
He said that if elected deputy leader for parliamentary affairs, he would, together with the new party leader and the parliamentary whip, ensure better coordination of the party’s parliamentary work.
He said MPs should have “adequate space” within the Labour Party media to be able to explain, among other things, the work that they do in parliament and as Opposition spokespersons. “Delegates, members and party activists should have a more open and welcoming access to the National Labour Centre; they should feel welcome,” Abela said.
He also called for the establishment of a team of professionals that would constantly formulate and update Labour’s vision and policies according to current needs.

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