The date is set and the contenders are sealed, as the Labour party prepares for a leadership race to elect the new head and Prime Minister of Malta. Following recent allegations involving key members of the office of the Prime Minister and his cabinet, many argue that Joseph Muscat’s position is no longer tenable and he must resign with immediate effect.
Many would have expected a number of potential leadership contenders once Joseph Muscat decided to call it a day, if asked a few months ago, so it is therefore quite a surprise that we are now facing a two-horse race between Chris Fearne and Robert Abela. Other candidates who would have been tipped as strong contenders are Miriam Dalli, a former Labour party journalist and current Member of European Parliament, the disgraced Konrad Mizzi who still remains one of the favourite politicians and Ian Borg, current Transport and Infrastructure Minister. Considering that these might have been potential options, the people voting now have significantly less alternatives to choose from.
One potential benefit of having fewer competitors for the position is the lesser chance for internal conflicts and divisions. When you have four factions battling it out, all promoting their respective preferred leader, things can get messy, especially during such a delicate period in Malta’s political history.
Both Chris Fearne and Robert Abela are well-respected politicians within the fold of the Labour party. One was the Deputy Prime Minister of the country and a well-renowned surgeon, whilst the other is a respected lawyer and the son of former President George Abela. The polls seem to indicate that the clear-cut winner will be the former Deputy Prime Minister, Chris Fearne. With that said, we are still a way to go and as we have been reminded quite recently, even a week is an extremely long time in politics.
This leadership race will also be remembered for some of its controversial moments as well. Recent footage of Chris Fearne stating that he will work to ensure that the Nationalist Party is erased completely, emphasising that he would like to have the words “RIPN” on his tombstone were met with controversy and distaste. Many have interpreted these comments as divisive and expressed that in no way they should be stated by someone aspiring to become Prime Minister. It is very clear to see that the movement that united the Maltese people under the leadership of Dr Joseph Muscat is becoming a thing of the past.
Robert Abela also stated at one point that he would not be part of any devilish pact. What exactly he meant by this is not yet clear.
What is your view on the Labour party leadership race? Who do you think will be made leader? Let us know in the comments section below.