The Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party Joseph Muscat said that if it had been up to the Nationalist Party, 117,000 people in 21 localities would not have voted and the local council elections are only being held in these areas because the PL has fielded more candidates so that the electorate would have an opportunity to vote.
During the first session of the PL’s general conference in Tarxien, Dr Muscat explained that in one-third of the localities, the majority of which are in the south, the PN did not field enough candidates. He said that it is no wonder that the PN has allowed the southern part of Malta to fall apart.
The Labour leader said that 24% of the local council candidates are women. While he noted that there has been an increase of 9% in the number of female candidates, Dr Muscat said he would not be happy until 50% of candidates at all levels are women.
Speaking about the surplus in public finances, the Prime Minister said that up to three years ago, no one used to mention the word ‘surplus’, but the public was only used to hearing the word ‘debt’. Dr Muscat said that the Government has turned things around and today we not only have families who budget well but a Government which does the same.
The PM said that other countries achieved a surplus only after they reduced pensions, laid off employees from the public sector, raised taxes and did not invest in infrastructure. He said that in Malta, we used to have a Government which was not capable of achieving economic growth but only of cutting down on expenses which then affected the common citizen.
While recognising the fact that some good things were done during the Nationalist administration, Dr Muscat said that the Labour Government had not found a bed of roses but instead was faced by a deficit of €250 million.