Labour in labour

Re-inventing the Malta Labour Party (and Maltese politics): an unauthorised tazebao.

Alternattiva Demokratika welcomes Joseph Muscat’s “political maturity”.

Posted by fcb on July 13, 2008

Referring to his proposals to Prime Minister Gonzi regarding the strenghtening of democracy, Joseph Muscat today emphasised the Labour Party’s request that talks on this subject should not be limited to the two parties represented in Parliament but ought to include other representatives of civil society. Alternattiva Demokratika, Joseph Muscat said, should be included in any discussions concerning electoral law and party financing.

Alternattiva Demokratika has welcomed the position taken by Joseph Muscat. Alternattiva chairman Arnold Cassola said this was a “strong gesture of political maturity”. “Indeed, all political parties, as well as civil society, should be directly involved also in the talks on a new electoral system for Malta,” said Dr Cassola. Stephen Cachia, AD’s deputy chairman, added that Joseph Muscat’s going beyond partisan politics was a very positive step as it gives credit to the positive contribution AD had given over the years to Malta’s political development. He hoped that Nationalist Party would also show such political maturity.

July 13, 2007


Posted in Editorial | 6 Comments »

A broad movement to save Malta and Gozo from drowning in a sea of speculation.

Posted by fcb on July 12, 2008

A drowning at Lévis, Ex-voto painting from the Québec region, 1754, Artist unknown, Oil on wood, (1994X269),  Musée de Sainte Anne, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré, Canada

As we debate the future of the Labour Party, this planet continues to revolve around itself and around the Sun. More particularly, the rape of this country’s natural heritage continues unabated.  Gozo is a case in point. As Gozo Minister Giovanna Debono launches the so-called consultation process for the government’s hifaluting eco-island project, MEPA continues to take decisions that are far from reassuring.

We suppose that the Hon. Debono will now include us amongst those she has branded as “sceptical people” and “who must not be living in Malta” because they do not salivate with pleasure when she lectures us about this country’s environmental track record. Well, Mrs. Debono, your government – pardon, MEPA – leaves us with little choice but to be sceptical. Take, for example, Ramla l-Hamra…

…doesn’t it stink ! MEPA Appeals Board chairman Ian Spiteri Bailey’s decision in Gozo last Friday July 11, not to throw out Emidio Azzopardi’s appeal shocked all those who give a damn about this country’s natural heritage, or what’s left of it. Normally an applicant who fails to pay the right fee for the appeal to be heard is simply told that the application is cancelled and the development blocked.

But Mr. Azzopardi, it appears, is not a normal applicant. “Had it been a normal applicant,” observed Miriam Cremona, “not a developer, the decision would have not been the same”. This means that a decision about the scandalous Ramla l-Hamra development is now postponed to the end of November. MEPA Appeals Board met to hear the Ramla developers’ appeal against MEPA’s rescinding of their permit to build 23 villas with pools on the Ramla hillside, partly on ODZ land. 

The permit had been originally granted in spite of robust opposition by environment NGOs. It was later rescinded because it turned out that the developer had provided MEPA with false information. In fact the application failed to state that part of the footprint included a public road. It took a demonstration by 1,500 protestors in Valletta to press government to nudge MEPA to reverse the permit. Rather than simply blocking the project, however, MEPA simply postponed a final decision till after the elections. 

Last Friday’s decision seems to be another attempt to delay a decision rather than declare the case closed. We wonder why…

…meanwhile, as Gozo drowns in a sea of speculation, we can either have faith in Giovanna Debono and take her word that “Gozo has already made great strides on the environmental front” or we can pray for deliverance or we can contribute to piecing together a broad movement of men and women of good will who will not be treated like fools.


For more background information click on the following:

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Further thoughts on the fear of sailing.

Posted by fcb on July 11, 2008

Snow Storm: Steamboat off a Harbour’s Mouth, J. M. W. Turner, 1842. Oil on Canvas 914 x 1219 mm, Tate Gallery, London.

Yesterday we reflected on the political perils of presenting ourselves as a party that rocks the boat and causes sea-sickness. Our reflection continues.

Can one hope to make a difference in politics and yet be accepted by an electorate that would rather have a government that did not rock the boat? This is a fundamental question, especially for a party that in 2013 will have spent twenty four of the previous twenty six years in opposition, especially in a country whose citizens have shown a marked and clear preference for political parties that let them be.

Faced with the choice between a party  that promises to resort to surgery to uproot alleged malignant growths and another that traditionally refuses to admit that there is any growth at all, resorts to palliatives and sedates the patient into numbness, our electorate ultimately chooses the party  that takes the softest approach.

In this situation, the party that has been consistently punished by a risk-averse electorate is tempted to imitate its more laid back competitor. It is tempted to avoid raising any serious issues and to smile itself into office. “We promise you we’ll do nothing to upset anyone at all. Vote for us and everything will remain exactly as it is. Vote Joseph and get GonziPN!” Will this do the trick? We don’t think so.

It is true that our electorate values continuity, stability and political tranquillity above all, perhaps as a reaction to past experiences.  In 1945, Pawlu Boffa resigned from the Council of Government to pressurise the Governor into dissolving it. In 1946 the nine Labour members of the Council of Government resigned. In 1949, after only two years in government, the Labour Party split and prime minister Boffa, now in a minority, survived for another year then resigned.

In 1958, after three years in office, Mintoff’s Labour government resigned, leading to four years of emergency colonial rule. Labour would have to wait another thirteen years – a highly conflictual period during which raged the infamous ‘political-religious war’ – before winning an election.

Then came the electoral victories of 1971 and 1976. These were ten years the experience of which we need to revisit and to reconsider. They were far from smooth but they were decisive for the country socio-economic progress, even if they have been the object of a revisionist historiography that is no less blatant and shameful than the worst examples of Stalinist rewriting of history.

Then came the ‘perverse’ result of 1981 – clearly a sign of political decline -, Mintoff’s resignation in favour of Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici in 1984 and the defeat of 1987. The closing years of the 70s and the first half of the 80s were traumatic and left wounds that have yet to heal. There is a lot that happened then that is still shrouded in mystery but the point is that in the memory (first hand or received) of tens of thousands of Maltese and Gozitans, Labour is the villain of those years.

Then came 1996, a glorious year that saw Labour – with the decisive contribution of many activists who had led the difficult struggle to renew the Party – back into government. Merely two years later, possibly in an attempt to turn back the clock of history within the Party, a crisis ensued that led prime minister Alfred Sant to decide to call an election. Need we add a reference to the EU issue? Whatever the merits and demerits of Labour’s position on that issue, it will certainly be remembered as another instance of its genetic negativism.

In all of the cases mentioned above, Labour was – to use an unfashionable phrase – on the side of history. The resignations, the split, the early elections were all the consequences of good intentions. But who cares apart from those who are already convinced that is the case? Our collective memory has retained mainly the distress of those occasions to the extent that in the minds of roughly half the population Labour has become a synonym of distress. 

We can, of course, study the distortions of history and the systematic suppression of truth that has moulded our collective memory but at the end of the day, we have the collective memory that we have and that, perhaps, we have deserved.

Which brings back to the future, to our Joseph. There is no doubt that a lot needs to be done to make of this country a decent European one, one that we need not be ashamed of. The question now is how to go about convincing a majority of fellow citizens that doing what needs to be done will cause no distress. On the contrary, that we will all be distressed unless we take action to prevent this from happening.

We think that Labour’s new approach, the ‘new political season’ inaugurated by Joseph, is the right way out of the dilemma we referred to in the first paragraph. It won’t be easy, also because not every Labourite is Joseph, but we can do it. And we will.

Posted in Editorial | 5 Comments »

Voters fear sea-sickness.

Posted by fcb on July 10, 2008

Dutch merchant ship in a storm, Ludolf Bakhuizen, oil on canvas, 39.5 x 48cm, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Correspondent Danny Attard insists, correctly in our view, that a progressive and innovative leader is not a guarantee of a Labour victory at the next elections. If Labour is to win, he concedes, it must attract those that yearn for a more progressive and innovative society but, he insists, it must also win the acceptance of the many whose priority is stress-less continuity. Many, Danny argues forcefully and consistently, would rather vote for a conservative and uninspiring political party led by a conservative and uninspiring leader if the latter is unlikely to cause the aggravation often associated with change. 

They would rather resign themselves to the rape of our natural heritage, to being the dirtiest country in Europe, to a national economy that is slowly grinding to a halt, to an education system that does not educate and a health care system on the brink of breakdown, to institutions they cannot trust…than vote for a party that promises to rock the boat. Most Maltese and Gozitan voters, Danny seems to be saying, are not good sailors…rocking boats make them sick. 

Danny’s is not a new theory of course. Only a few days ago a very dear friend of mine for whom marketing is daily bread warned me to pass on the message that whatever we say we’ll do when in government, “avoid issues, avoid all issues, avoid any issue because people don’t like issues”. She explained that as far as the majority of voters were concerned there was no distinction between good and bad positions as far as issues were concerned. Anyone rubbing the voter’s nose into an issue, whichever issue, is not appreciated.

What is to be done then? Labour must learn to present itself as a natural party of government and not as a tough talking party of opposition. Voters do not assume that a good opposition party makes a good government party. On the contrary, it tends to assume that parties specialise in being either good opposition parties or good government parties. They conclude that a good opposition party should do what it does best, oppose. Why therefore vote it into government? 

Opposition parties are great at identifying worrisome issue and forcing government parties into solving these issues. Citizens appreciate this as long as nobody bothers them in the process.  Natural government parties do not worry citizens by forcing issues to their attention. In fact a natural party of government excels at denying that there are issues and if any such issue is brought to its attention it will do its best to convince citizens that the said issue is not, after all, as serious as the oppositions says it is. Citizens expect a good government party to solve issues without bothering them unduly.

These same citizens do not deny the value of an opposition party, on the contrary. But they feel that the opposition should restrict itself to prodding the government to solve issues it has identified. Ideally the opposition should do so without bothering anyone else, certainly not citizens themselves. Moral of the tale: if Labour wants to be in government in 2013 or whenever the opportunity presents itself, it must stop looking and sounding like the natural party of opposition. Joseph is leading the way in this direction. The rest of the party – its media included – must follow him.

Posted in Editorial | 3 Comments »

Ranier’s Thesis.

Posted by fcb on July 9, 2008

The well known columnist Ranier Fsadni teaches social anthropology at the University of Malta. A CV we found on internet informs us that he is also chairperson of the PN front organisation AZAD and is or was an advisor at the Office of the Prime Minister. Anecdotal evidence suggests that he is related to Rev. Peter Serracino Inglott, Rector Emeritus and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Malta, himself a well known advisor to the Nationalist Party and two Nationalist Prime Ministers. Former MLP president Mario Vella, in his 1989 book on the relationship between Serracino Inglott’ philosophical output and his political role, Reflections in a Canvas Bag: Beginning Philosophy between Politics and History,  writes that “had he (PSI) not existed, the Nationalist Party would have had to invent him”.

The Serracino Inglott that emerges from Vella’s book is that of the grey eminence of the Nationalist party’s transformation, in the period between the mid-70s and the mid-80s, from a network of conservative local notables with a somewhat restricted social base and heavily dependent on the Church for electoral mass mobilisation, into a modern popular party loosely modelled on the Italian Democrazia Cristiana and also – but more remotely –  inspired by the CDU, Christlich Demokratische Union Deutschlands, the bigger of the two German centre-right Christian parties. More anecdotal evidence indicates that the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung), an organisation set up in 1956 as the “Society for Christian Democratic Education Work” and closely associated with the CDU, assisted the Nationalist Party to set up and develop AZAD.

But back to Ranier Fsadni. In a piece entitled The Liberal Turn, published in The Times of Malta of June 19, ( Fsadni articulates a very interesting thesis, one that we will henceforth refer to as Ranier’s Thesis. In a manner heavily reminescent of his uncle Peter, Fsadni begins by referring us to the distinction in classical rhetoric between “pathos (impact on audience), logos (what a thoughtful judge would make of an argument) and ethos (the spirit incarnated by an argument)” with a view to “help us notice certain moves and slides in Dr Muscat’s rhetoric and its likely future force”.

Then he moves swiftly to the point. These are the key passages: “While in the name of openness Dr Muscat is proposing to dissolve political polarisation in Malta, what he in fact wants to do is replace one polarisation with another: the PN-MLP divide will be substituted by a ‘conservative-liberal’ divide. He has already accused Lawrence Gonzi of being a conservative. It is a label that might stick. If so, the MLP will make inroads among some of the demographic groups where the Nationalist Party has in recent elections registered significant strength: youth and the middle-aged professional class. In fact, so far anyway, the PN is neither conservative nor progressive. Like the MLP it embraces a practical, if more fragile, synthesis of both”.

In other words, this is Ranier’s Thesis: In a bid to broaden the Labour Party’s support base, Joseph Muscat intends to reconstruct it as a party that appeals to all those who recognise themselves as progressives, regardless of their ideological roots. To do so he will have to convert the conservative elements within Labour to the progressive side. If he succedes to do so, Ranier argues, Joseph Muscat will shatter the Nationalist Party’s leading edge amongst certain socio-economic groups, especially in particular age strata. Not bad, the guy’s smart.

The calculation he makes (but does not show us the workings) is probably correct. This is the sub-text: If we line up progressive and conservative Labourites vs progressive and conservative Nationalists, the Nationalist Party gets the majority. If, on the other hand, we line up all progressives vs all conservatives, then the party of the progressives gets the majority. Ranier warns the Nationalist Party that Joseph Muscat has worked this out and plans to win the majority by bringing to Labour as many progressives as possible, even if this means making significant compromises.

So far Ranier’s Thesis is clear and unequivocal – even if it stands or falls on the assumption that in Malta fior del mondo there are more progressive voters than conservative ones – but he goes further. Beyond this point, however, his thesis becomes somewhat fuzzier and we think we know why. He fears, and warns the Nationalists accordingly, that if Joseph succeeds to a sufficient extent in labelling Gonzi as a conservative, then (quote) “the MLP will make inroads among some of the demographic groups where the Nationalist Party has in recent elections registered significant strength: youth and the middle-aged professional class”.

Ranier, tellingly, focuses on Lawrence Gonzi (“He [JM] has already accused Lawrence Gonzi of being a conservative. It is a label that might stick.”). Although he cannot spell it out without helping Joseph Muscat advance closer to his alleged goal, what Rainer is saying is that Gonzi may well become the Nationalist party’s ultimate problem. As a matter of fact, Ranier is quick to reassure the readers of The Times of Malta that, per se, the Nationalist Party “so far anyway, […] is neither conservative nor progressive”. Driven by the need not to be too clear, Ranier’s Thesis is condemned to fuzziness.

Hence Ranier concedes that the Nationalist Party “like the MLP […] embraces a practical, if more fragile, synthesis of both ” progressive and conservative elements. Hmmm…more fragile? Did he say “more fragile”? If we look hard enough, through the inevitable fuzziness, Raniers’ Thesis is sufficiently clear: If Joseph continues along this path and unless the Nationalist Party does something about it, a critical mass of progressives will rally around him. The fragile synthesis (his words) between progressives and conservatives that gives the Nationalist Party its political competitive edge will snap under the strain. Within this scenario, Lawrence Gonzi (on whom the conservative label “might stick”) is a liability.

Ranier’s clarion call is not aimed at the general public, let alone at Labour. It is aimed at the relatively restricted caucuses that determine the future of the Nationalist Party (for a taste of how this works, see our post of June 5 It-tbatija tat-tiġdid: ‘Peppinu’ Cassar dwar kif intgħażel Eddie Fenech Adami fl-1977). Like Peter Serracino Inglott in the 70s and 80s, Ranier Fsadni is desperately struggling to convince those that matter in and around the Nationalist Party that they cannot hide their head in the sand. Their party must become less conservative or lose power. 

Whereas former PN general secretary Joe Saliba – has he learnt anything from his self-proclaimed mentor, Joe Friggieri, Peter Serracino Inglott’s successor as the Professor of Philosophy, except for evasive distinguos ? – has reassured his party that Joseph Muscat may be an alternative to his predecessor but is not an alternative to Lawrence Gonzi, Ranier –  who has evidently had the benefit of a profounder teacher – is not so certain. No doubt he and his fellow Nationalist progressives (certainly a minority but a significant one) will be fighting tooth and nail to prevent the majority of Nationalist conservatives from taking over the party completely. If they do, they will simplify Joseph’s job.

Posted in Editorial | 7 Comments »

What Joseph needs: A machine so frictionless as to be almost silent.

Posted by fcb on July 8, 2008

Soupape d’admission, (Induction Valve), Francis Picabia, Gouache over an engineering blueprint 50×33 cm., 1917, Private collection.

We think the Administration (excluding the Leader and the two deputies, the three of which are members of the Administration) ought to be made up of precisely what its name implies, administrators. Individuals with the technical competence and the energy to carry out their tasks as provided for under the Statute of the Party in accordance with the policies and directives of the General Conference, the National Executive and the Leader.

The Labour Party is a big and complex organisation and requires, therefore, individuals with solid managerial expertise and experience. A good manager’s presence is felt through the effectiveness and efficiency of the organisation that he or she creates and maintains. It is often said that the best managers are the ones that are seen and heard least. It is time we de-glamourised the role of the Party’s administrators. Their effectiveness is not to be measured by wit, frequency of sound-bytes or smiles. Their effectiveness is to be measured by the efficiency of the organisation they are responsible for.

This is not to say that they are unimportant, on the contrary. That is why we think they ought to be chosen with the greatest care.  Joseph needs the best possible administrative machine at his disposal. It’s got to work. It should take the Party in exactly the direction he wants it to at his slightest touch of the steering. It’s got to get there at precisely the speed he wants it to. It should do so smoothly, its engine so frictionless as to be almost silent, respectful of the social and cultural environment and – it almost goes without saying – with the least possible expenditure of its necessarily scarce resources. And they should all be team-players.

We can hear some of you protesting that the Party’s administration should not be de-politicised, that it should not be made up of pure and politically unexperienced technicians! We can hear you say that if that is what our ‘legislators’, the ‘fathers’ and ‘mothers’ of the Statute, wanted, then they would not have provided for the election of the Administration officials and would, presumably, have opted for the hiring of professional organisers.

True, but of course we do not think we should depoliticise the Administration. Party officials, especially the key ones, need also be politically savvy and streetwise. After all they are managing a mass political party, not a supermarket or an industrial plant or a call-centre. True, but no amount of political chutzpah will make up for  organisational incompetence. It is not up to us to tell delegates who they should vote for but we must admit that not all the names circulating so far inspire us with great enthusiasm.

We’ll say it once more and we’ll say it no more: we need a team of competent administrators (understood as the best managers/organisers that are willing to go in for the job), that are not divisive and take an inclusive approach, that are endowed with sufficient political good sense, that have the intellectual depth necessary to understand the moral values and the political vision that inspire the New Political Season inaugurated by Joseph Muscat,  and who are loyal to the Party led by him. And to nobody else.

Posted in Editorial | 4 Comments »

That cool spring in the hot summer of 08…

Posted by fcb on July 7, 2008

Spring, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, Flemish (ca. 1564 – ca. 1638), Oil on Panel 16 3/4 x 22 15/16″,
The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York

We’re back where it’s at. Our ‘refurbishment’ took a while longer than originally expected but we needed all the time we could grab to reflect on where we came from, where we are now and where we want to go. We were – we are – elated at the choice made by the absolute majority of the Labour Conference delegates. Joseph is the best thing that happened to Labour in Malta for a long time.

We needed time to work out how, now that we had the sort of leader we had been dreaming of, we were going to set out to convince thinking men and women in Malta and Gozo that not only is Joseph’s approach a politically effective alternative to the way Labour has projected itself to date but that he represents a political alternative for the Country as a whole. He has indeed inaugurated a new political season, a political Spring… not only for Labourites but for all those who care what happens to this Country.

Having said this, we’d like it to be crystal clear that Labour in labour is not a Joseph Muscat fan blog. We’re not into personality cults. That sort of thing belongs to the past of a part of the European Left and is now dead and buried. Our intellectual roots may be traced back to various sources and the European Left is certainly one of the major ones. The nutrients we draw from this cultural soil, however, are not adopted uncritically.

Indeed, adopting the best traditions of the European Left means adopting nothing uncritically. We dislike having others chew our bread for us. We like to chew our own bread and to chew it thoroughly. Personality cults of any sort, from whatever political tradition they may come from, are the bits that get stuck in our throat.

One important reason why we reject the notion that history can be explained by the actions or qualities of an individual, is that this leads to underestimating the importance of having civil society on one’s side if one is to make a difference. Converting civil society to a new political vision cannot be achieved overnight by skillful marketing campaigns, no matter how massive.

If the conversion is to be a long term one, the various components of civil society need to understand why the new vision is the best possible one for them. Techniques that have been perfected to sell products designed to become obsolete as soon as possible (to make way for new products in an insatiable market) are inadequate to engage thinking men and women in a dialogue aimed at satisfying their queries and overcoming their understandable mistrust of ‘politics’.

Support won by patiently engaging an individual in a meaningful dialogue – by reasoning with him or her, by telling the truth even when it is unpleasant, by not proposing simplistic pseudo-solutions to genuinely complex issues – will have a more lasting effect. Support thus won will not disappear as soon as we encounter the slightest turbulence. Instant support ‘won’ with instant techniques tends to be superficial. It tends to shift easily to the latest product sold with the same techniques.

Our unsolicited mission is to contribute to Joseph’s new political season, to the political spring he has so enthusiastically initiated this unforgettable summer 2008, by engaging those that were yearning for such a spring but who are – understandably – disenchanted and wary of mirages. Our job is to convince them that there is no credible alternative to our alternative and that it is not an illusion. It is real, worthwhile and feasible.

Why Labour in labour ? Well Labour is still ‘in labour’. Having chosen a new leader does not, by any means, conclude the process of renewal the Labour Party so badly needed and – to the extent that the process is by no means concluded – that it still needs. Two deputy leaders have been chosen and in a month’s time the Delegates will be able to choose a new Administration. About this, however, we’ll say something tomorrow. And in any case, Labour will still be ‘in labour’ for quite a while even after it has chosen its General Secretary and the other officials. A new party is not born easily.

Posted in Editorial | 14 Comments »

Joseph: seventh day reflection.

Posted by fcb on June 14, 2008

Big Fish Eat Little Fish. Pieter Bruegel the Elder, 1556. Pen and brush and gray and black ink, 21.6 x 30.7 cm
Graphische Sammlung Albertina, Vienna


Now we have a leader, Joseph Muscat. He is young and reflects our dream to make a fresh start. In the week he has been in office – a long time, we all know, in politics – he has done and said many things. Some of these things may have caused a sensation but will, with the passing of weeks and months and years, fade into the background.

Some of them, however, will not. When there will be nobody left to hug and kiss, the truly important statements made and actions taken in the past week, will have to be revisited, defined, fleshed out and built upon. Moreover, a week being a long time but certainly not long enough, other things will need to be said and done: reflection and circumstances will make sure this happens.

We chose Joseph because we are convinced that he has the intelligence and the moral disposition required to avoid mouthing the laughable mantra so beloved of third rate politikanti: I was, I am and I will always be etc etc. The world changes and we change with it. Recognising this is not a mark of weakness but an indication of intellectual honesty. What is finally important is not to use this as a justification for moral opportunism.

Not easy but, again, we chose Joseph because we are convinced that he can and will succeed to walk along the vibrating tightrope stretched between principle and expediency. One reason why we think he can make it is that he has no difficulty in admitting that he is not above the conflict between principle and expediency. It is this honesty that will attract to him an increasing number of thinking men and women who have had enough of the holier-than-thou poseurs of our village-nation politics.

Having said this, let us not forget that there are many out there who stand to lose from this approach. The big fish who are accustomed to devouring small fish will not like it. They perceive in this radical sincerity  – sincerity as a powerful political instrument – a growing force that may one day threaten their quest for monopoly over influence, status, power and wealth. They will throw at him everything they can get their hands on. Obviously they will do so with a smile. We shall overcome. 

Posted in Editorial | 11 Comments »

Deputy leaders: final results

Posted by fcb on June 13, 2008

The Delegates chose Anglu Farrugia and Tony Abela as Deputy Leader Parliamentary Affairs and Deputy Leader Party Affairs respectively.


        Deputy Leader Parliamentary Affairs

Valid votes cast:            828   

Chris Cardona:               293               
Anglu Farrugia:        535


Deputy Leader Party Affairs

Valid votes cast:            835

Toni Abela:              528              
Gavin Gulia:                    307

Our correspondent at CNL, Hamrun, 23:00  June 13, 2008


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European social democrats elect three young leaders

Posted by fcb on June 13, 2008

Jutta Urpilainen

Jutta Urpilainen

Grzegorz Napieralski

Joseph Muscat

In the far north of the EU, Finland’s Social Democratic Party elected a woman – 32 year old former teacher Jutta Urpilainen – as its new leader. In the far south, the Malta Labour Party elected 34 year old Member of the European Parliament Joseph Muscat to lead the party. Meanwhile in Poland the SLD – Democratic Left Alliance – elected 34 year old Grzegorz Napieralski as its new leader.

PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen said “It is encouraging to see a new generation ready to take our social democratic parties into the future. I warmly congratulate Jutta, Joseph and Grzegorz on their election as party leaders and I wish them every success. We need them to succeed. I offer them every encouragement and support, and look forward to welcoming them into our European political family at the next PES leaders meeting.”

“With the challenges facing Europe and the world today social democracy is needed more than ever before. The election of new young leaders sends a very positive signal to Europe’s citizens.”

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