MaltaToday | 22 June 2008 | Labour, AD in “political symbiosis” – Joseph Muscat

NEWS | Sunday, 22 June 2008

Labour, AD in “political symbiosis” – Joseph Muscat

Charlot Zahra

Labour and Alternattiva Demokratika (AD) are in “political symbiosis” with each other and Labour was “more than ready” to work with AD in the national interest, Labour leader Joseph Muscat said when he welcomed new AD chairperson Arnold Cassola at Labour's headquarters in Hamrun yesterday.
Muscat congratulated Cassola on his election as AD chairperson. “It is not only our duty, but it is our pleasure to welcome you and our colleagues at AD.
“When you look at the Labour Party’s principles and those of AD, there are many common things. These are many principles, especially in the social sector, which unite us and can be a common basis for us to work together,” Muscat said.
He added: “We had already declared that we are ready to work together with the government in all those matters of national interest, therefore we are more than willing to work along with those political and social forces in the country like AD, with which we have a political symbiosis.
“I have spoken about the idea of a movement of progressives and moderates in this country, and I believe that we can work together.
“There are issues on which we do not agree, however I strongly believe that our country is begging us politicians not to become too much intrusive, and to develop a European orientation not only based on directive and empty words, but in the way that we act and the way that we think, and how we set our political argumentation,” Muscat insisted.
On his part, Cassola expressed agreement with most of Muscat’s arguments. “I think both of us have a European experience. Brussels instilled in us an added spirit of collaboration… you get used to work with the European People’s Party, the Socialists, the Liberals, trying to hammer out a compromise. Our aim is the national interest, and when the national interest comes first, it is natural to work with all the Maltese political forces, including the Labour Party.”
Cassola reiterated AD’s proposal on the election of the next President of Malta when Eddie Fenech Adami’s term expires in April 2009.
“I believe in respect to the election of the President of Malta in nine months’ time, we should not procrastinate till the customary one to two months to start with the public debate.
“There should be an agreement in principle as from now between the political parties… We should elect a person who is respected by everybody and unites the Maltese people together for the first time since Sir Anthony Mamo and is elected by a good majority of MPs,” Cassola insisted.
On his part, Muscat said he agreed “without any reservations whatsoever” with AD’s position on the matter. “When the time arrives, we will speak in a national manner… Malta is not only made up of politicians, but of other people as well,” he said.
Muscat added that the Labour Parliamentary group would be discussing the issue in the coming weeks.
The new Labour leader said that AD’s proposal on the fuel surcharge was a good basis for the policy discussion which the Labour Party would be conducting internally in the coming weeks.
It was complete 360 degree turn for Toni Abela, one of the founders of Alternattiva Demokratika (AD) in 1989, who had since returned to the Labour fold with all his might and had recently been appointed Deputy Leader for Party Affairs.

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