Chris Cardona, the former Labour deputy leader forced to step down after being named in connection with Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, will not rule out a return to politics.
“I am a lifelong member of the PL. I’m still 51. Some people get into politics at an older age. I did a run of 30 years (with the party), 25 of them in parliament, so I do not rule out a return to the political scene,” he told Times of Malta.
Asked if anyone in the Labour Party had approached him, he replied: “The confidentiality of internal party discussions is of utmost importance.”
The Labour Party, he said, stood as the “sole political force” in Malta that instilled hope for an improved quality of life.
He was contacted after Prime Minister Robert Abela said he was open to reconsider the return of both Justyne Caruana and Rosianne Cutajar to the party. Both Caruana and Cutajar, first elected during Joseph Muscat’s tenure, were forced out following separate scandals.
Abela was coy, however, when asked whether he would allow former OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, former minister Konrad Mizzi and Cardona back into the Labour Party.
Each case had to be judged on its merits, Abela said in a recent interview as he avoided a definitive answer.
The prime minister was pressed after saying that he saw no reason to “say no” to Joseph Muscat should his predecessor wish to run as a Labour candidate in the upcoming MEP elections.
Confidentiality of party discussions is of utmost importance
Abela, however, said that there are “different considerations” to be made between Schembri, Mizzi and Cardona on the one hand and Caruana and Cutajar on the other.
A 25-year political career
Cardona was first elected to parliament in 1996 and was returned in 1998, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2017 when he contested on the eighth and 11th electoral districts.
A lawyer by profession, Cardona became PL deputy leader in 2016 after seeing off a challenge from Owen Bonnici who today serves as Heritage Minister. At the time, he served as Economy Minister within Muscat’s government.
He lost his cabinet post when Abela took over as prime minister in January 2020 and quit parliament in April, shifting into the political background after he was implicated in the assassination of Caruana Galizia.
He had been mentioned in court testimony by murder middleman Melvin Theuma, who said he heard that the former minister had paid to have Caruana Galizia killed. Cardona flatly denied the allegation and always denied any involvement in the journalist’s murder.
In June that year, Abela asked him to step aside, leading to his resignation from his role as Labour Party deputy leader. He did not contest the 2022 general election.
He now specialises in international trade law and provides consultancy services to international companies across various industries.