The next months will inevitably bring about a fresh general election. All surveys and intelligence show that, ceterus paribus, this will bring about a third electoral term for Labour led by Prime Minister Robert Abela.
Historically, both the Labour and the Nationalist Party attained one instance each of three consecutive electoral victories to date (1971-87 and 1998-2013 respectively). Between September 1950 and February of 1955, the Mintoff – Boffa split within Labour created a scenario wherein the Malta Labour Party was also in opposition with three electoral defeats whilst the Nationalists were in government in coalition with the Malta Workers Party. Even though Labour ended up as the biggest party at the time.
I have already stated in a previous article that Labour leader Abela’s biggest challenge will not be the next general election results, given the present state of the Opposition. Rather, PM Abela’s biggest challenge will be to steer his government for the third set of five years. It has always been an uphill struggle for any political party to defy the law of the political pendulum which normally sets a voter swing every ten years or two electoral wins. Lawrence Gonzi’s third electoral legislature at the helm of a Nationalist government between 2008 and 2013 inevitably comes to mind. The resultant implosion within the Nationalist Party is still felt to this day. The excesses of Labour bigwigs within various ministries in the mid-eighties also left an indelible scar on the Party which is still somewhat remembered today.
PM Abela’s biggest challenge will be to steer his government for the third set of five years.
The challenges that the Prime Minister faces in the next five years are varied and complicated. We are speaking about the same Prime Minister who was unfortunate enough to be handed an international pandemic by the Fates, slap bang during his first ‘honeymoon’ days as Prime Minister when he was just elected. I have managed to summarise what I personally view as crucial in this matter for the continued survival of a strong Left within our country. In my humble opinion, Robert Abela needs to ensure that, following a third electoral success:
- Labour ensures that the smooth running of Malta’s post-COVID economic progress is professionally overseen with draconian measures in place to ensure continued economic growth – tangibly felt by all and sundry.
- Labour ensures that its mission of social justice and social economic distribution remains paramount in the country’s agenda.
- Labour ensures full delivery of all electoral promises thus ensuring a continuation of its image of consistency and preparedness for governing.
- The Prime Minister has to continue ensuring that his no-nonsense approach with regards to politicians who are caught in situations unworthy of their position is furthermore enhanced and enforced in order to ensure the public’s trust in their elected representatives.
- The Prime Minister needs to make sure that his cabinet remains in constant contact with the electorate. He cannot, at all costs, afford to have key components of his government to remain locked in ivory towers; far and aloof of the needs of the electorate and surrounded by sycophantic yes-men which inevitably portray a warped and interpolated image of reality to their minister instead of the actual feel of the electorate and constituency.
- The Prime Minister opts for a cabinet composition which should be made up of dedicated team players, not prima donnas, who share the Prime Minister’s vision and can work in synergy with their colleagues, instead of creating their own mini-fiefdoms.
- The Prime Minister has to ensure that all decisions, difficult though they must be, have to be taken in a rational, not emotional matter. His choice of cabinet ministers is of paramount importance. Malta cannot afford any more waste of time and money by having ministers who do not deliver and who merely project nice schmooze of neutral verbal utterings instead of getting ‘the goods’ delivered. We have already seen sporadic instances of politicians being shown trust by the present Prime Minister and the latter being rewarded back by uncalled-for gaffes which basically create a collective shame instead of a collective sense of achievement.
- The Prime Minister chooses Ministers who do not harbour persons within their retinues who actually run the ministries in question without being elected. Ministers cannot be held to ransom by powerful aides and Machiavellian orchestrations. Many a time throughout these last decades, we have witnessed within both political parties unelected personalities operating in the shadows of Ministries who are essentially more powerful than the Ministers themselves and who inevitably always create scenarios which elicit distrust, lack of transparency and the fruits of dubious political goings on.
- The Prime Minister needs to remind himself that he is also the leader of Malta’s biggest political party. He has to ensure that during the next five years, professional and dedicated personnel and management are appointed within the Party structures in order to harmonise Party work and its representation of the loyal and trusted core vote.