The Nationalist Party must start afresh after suffering its worst defeat in recent history and the “clique” to blame for it should shoulder the responsibility and go “in its entirety”, according to MP Robert Arrigo.
A clean and total change is the only remedy for such a disaster
In a strongly worded Facebook post addressed to his constituents who elected him from the ninth and 10th districts, Mr Arrigo said the party’s structures had “proven to be obsolete” as it had been embarrassed by a massive swing of 50,000.
Mr Arrigo, an entrepreneur, insisted the party leader, deputy leader and general secretary had to go, as well as those who occupied the position of president in the party’s executive committee. The entire administrative council should be vacated and replaced by fresh faces.
Mr Arrigo told The Times all the party’s structures had failed. “I have been enduring humiliation for the past five years while remaining loyal to the party flag and I have no reason to do any different,” he said.
“Do you remember I had said the Government is like a car with a slow puncture? Do you remember how many people laughed at that statement? I was spot on and proved right and not even one high party official bothered to come ask me what I meant by that.”
In his Facebook post, Mr Arrigo said that only party leader Lawrence Gonzi and general secretary Paul Borg Oliver had shouldered responsibility for the heavy defeat.
“Others should follow suit and not resort to excuses of coming here only recently,” in a clear reference to deputy leader Simon Busuttil whom he said was trying to distance himself from the defeat by saying he entered the fray at the very end.
“A clean and total change is the only remedy for such a disaster,” Mr Arrigo said.
The outspoken Sliema MP also took his party and its administration to task over how he had been pushed aside by the party machine during the electoral campaign, not being given slots at press conferences, Net TV programmes, radio, newspapers and programmes on other television stations.
He also took aim at fellow ninth and 10th district contender, former minister George Pullicino who, he claimed, had “supporting staff... paid by the taxpayer... transferred to an apartment in Sliema to conduct a campaign from the taxpayers’ money”.
When asked whether he was referring to Mr Pullicino, Mr Arrigo said: “You are saying that. Do some investigative work and you will easily (identify) who it is.”
When contacted for a reaction to his allegations Mr Pullicino said: “My comment is no comment.”
Elaborating on his comments of feeling excluded, Mr Arrigo said: “Other competing candidates had a field day, and were pushed by the party. Some had three to six media events in one day. In the last two weeks, a series of high-profile openings were duly set up, to give maximum coverage, including the presence of the Prime Minister, even excluding a particular mayor.”
In his Facebook post, Mr Arrigo heartily thanked his constituents for their backing, saying he increased first-count votes on both districts by 550 and 600.
He said he was the only backbencher in the previous legislature to be elected from both districts but “was not given the opportunity to participate in the Government”.