Joseph Muscat, the current Prime Minister of Malta and leader of the Labour Party is a political enigma. It would be safe to presume that his status will be cemented with Malta’s greatest politicians, achieving the similar cult status of Dom Mintoff and Eddie Fenech Adami. Joseph Muscat will always be remembered as the man who steered the Labour party, and probably the Maltese islands from its dark times, turning things completely sunny side up, and establishing the foundations for many years of success.
A lot has been said regarding a possible succession process where Joseph Muscat is no longer at the helm of the Labour party, especially when he has stated repeatedly that he will not be around for the next general election. What will things be like for the country and the Labour party when Joseph Muscat decides to call it a day? Will things transition smoothly and will the new leader follow suit and replicate similar success to that of Joseph Muscat? Looking back at when previous legendary leaders left the helm of their party, it resulted that the following ones found difficulty to emulate their success.
When Dom Mintoff resigned from leader and Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici was elected as the new leader, the Labour party fastened its spiral of decline and took years to recover. A similar scenario took place within the Nationalist party, when Eddie Fenech Adami made way for a new leader. Lawrence Gonzi won the following election with a small margin and eventually lost the next with a landslide defeat, with the Nationalists still struggling to find their feet till the present day.
With that said, Joseph Muscat has built solid foundations and a strong political machine for the future which includes several candidates strategically positioned in different areas within the party, contributing positively to its growth. This is also coupled with the fact that the main competition, i.e. the Nationalist party finds itself in one of the worst patches ever in its history, with another landslide defeat being predicted for the upcoming MEP elections.
So who would be the potential candidates once Joseph Muscat resigns?
Having grown through the ranks within the Labour party walls, Miriam Dalli served as a journalist for One television, eventually growing into a successful MEP candidate. With a strong academic and career background, having experience in top positions in the private and public sectors, Miriam Dalli is a candidate worthy of consideration. Apart from that, she would be the first female Prime Minister of Malta.
One of the politicians currently being touted for a possible leadership role is the current Deputy Leader and Minister for Health, Chris Fearne. He would be a good choice to target Nationalist voters.
He is the current Transport Minister and one of the youngest in Parliament. It would undoubtedly be a significant milestone for him if he had to be elected as leader.
A highly controversial figure in Maltese politics. Looking at his track record, he has performed exceptionally well in the turnaround situations of both Enemalta and Air Malta, with the airline registering its first profit following numerous years of meagre financial performance. One cannot argue against Konrad Mizzi’s business acumen, which is undoubtedly a key trait for a political leader. The downside of his potential election to leader? He was the centre of controversy following the Panama Papers scandal and remains tainted with allegations of money laundering and corruption.
One thing is for certain. The next leader of the Labour party has big shoes to fill when Joseph Muscat eventually decides to make way.
What is your opinion about this subject? Who do you think will fill this challenging role?