New AD chair­per­son Carmel Ca­co­pardo de­fends not join­ing coali­tion in last elec­tion

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - NEWS -

Re­becca Iversen The new Al­ter­nat­tiva Demokratika Chair­man Carmel Ca­co­pardo, who was elected yes­ter­day, de­fended the party’s de­ci­sion to not align it­self with the Forza Naz­zjon­ali coali­tion set up in the last elec­tion, which had been com­prised of the Na­tion­al­ist Party and Par­tit Demokratiku.

AD’s choice, Ca­co­pardo told the party’s ex­tra­or­di­nary gen­eral meet­ing yes­ter­day, had been taken to main­tain and to hold on to AD’s iden­tity of clean pol­i­tics.

Ca­co­pardo ex­plained that AD could not have joined the coali­tion to fight for clean pol­i­tics when there are cases in the PN which he deemed to be any­thing but: “How can you be cred­i­ble when you form an al­liance in favour of good gov­er­nance with these peo­ple?” he asked.

“It would not have been ac­cept­able to pre­tend that noth­ing was hap­pen­ing when the PN’s deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami was for some time a di­rec­tor of Cap­tialOne, which had been in­ves­ti­gated for laun­der­ing money sus­pected to have come from drugs.

“It was also un­ac­cept­able that they pre­tended noth­ing hap­pened when the Hon­ourable Clau­dio Grech stated he couldn’t re­mem­ber if he had ever met Ge­orge Far­ru­gia who was ac­cused in the oil pro­cure­ment scan­dal. It also wasn’t ac­cept­able when the other deputy leader, Mario de Marco, ne­go­ti­ated with the govern­ment for his clients when his work in Par­lia­ment is to scru­ti­nise what the govern­ment is do­ing with those same clients.”

The new Chair­man said that al­though some saw this as a missed op­por­tu­nity, and in fact AD’s votes de­creased by 50 per cent in the last elec­tion, he blamed lack of or­gan­i­sa­tion within the party for the de­feat.

He ac­knowl­edged it was not the first time the party had strug­gled be­cause of a lack of or­gan­i­sa­tion, such as back in 2003, and sug­gested that the party fo­cuses its en­ergy on ac­tive pol­i­tics by be­ing present in all lo­cal­i­ties through­out Malta and Gozo.

Ca­co­pardo spoke about the var­i­ous pro­pos­als that AD has been cam­paign­ing for, which have ei­ther now passed into law, are be­ing dis­cussed and due to be­come law: di­vorce, LGBTIQ rights and now the dis­cus­sion of 16-year-olds be­ing given the right to vote in na­tional elec­tions.

“Last week [Prime Min­is­ter Joseph] Mus­cat an­nounced an­other ini­tia­tive from our elec­toral man­i­festo, this time most re­cently, 2017: that pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion be­gins on the elim­i­na­tion of petrol and diesel cars from our roads. This is a good step as we have al­ways in­sisted that when car­ried out it will im­prove air qual­ity for ev­ery­one and will also re­duce the in­ci­dence of res­pi­ra­tory dis­eases.”

Ca­co­pardo also ad­dressed the is­sue of per­mits be­ing given for petrol sta­tions all over the pace, the need for rent reg­u­la­tions, which he had spo­ken about the other week.

He also spoke about the youth par­lia­ment, which has asked for a dis­cus­sion on abor­tion and ob­served that the re­al­ity is that many Maltese are go­ing abroad for abor­tions, some­times in un­safe con­di­tions. It is the coun­try’s right to have the op­por­tu­nity to dis­cuss the is­sue, he said, adding: “This si­lence must stop im­me­di­ately.”

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