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NEWS | Wednesday, 31 December 2008

AN ponders contesting EP elections under Libertas banner

Azzjoni Nazzjonali is considering contesting next June’s European Parliament elections under the Libertas banner – a newly formed eurosceptic political movement based in Ireland.
The Maltese right-wing party has had discussions with the movement that has fronted the anti-Lisbon treaty campaign in the Irish referendum, although no commitments have been taken so far.
AN leader Josie Muscat yesterday said that discussions were “very preliminary” and nothing had been concluded as Libertas had yet to announce its official programme and statute.
“Like us, Libertas are against a federalist Europe, but we need to look into the other policies to see how far we agree,” Muscat said.
“Our main interest remains the national interest so we would do nothing that might compromise that principle.”
On its website, Libertas refers to Malta as one of the countries where it will be conducting its EP elections campaign but it does not yet state which Maltese party will be part of it.
Muscat would not even confirm if he will be contesting the EP elections. “I will do whatever is in the interest of the party, but we will be announcing our list in the coming days.”
It would be the first time that AN will be fielding candidates for the European Parliament, after the party was launched right before the 2008 elections.
Although coming out with a focused campaign supporting hunting, traditional values, and an anti-immigration platform, AN only polled a dismal 0.5% of the national vote.
Libertas was launched as a party by Declan Ganley in the wake of its successful Irish No-campaign, promising to turn the EP elections into a Europe-wide referendum against what the “undemocratic Lisbon treaty and the unaccountable elite in Brussels.”
“The Irish government and the powerful elite in Brussels are showing utter contempt for the democratic decision of the Irish people in rejecting the Lisbon Treaty. Not one sentence will change in a ‘new version’. Some non-legally binding texts will be added in an attempt to fool the people. They tried this with the French, they tried with the Dutch, they are trying with the Irish. It’s time to put a stop to this bullying,” Ganley said at the launch of the pan-European party.
But beyond the Lisbon treaty, Libertas has yet to define its programme and announce its candidates.
Ganley has stated that Europeans have reached a crossroads and that Libertas candidates will strive for a strong and healthy Europe that is “democratic and answerable to them.”


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