A new conservative party contesting the upcoming general election is fielding candidates with links to a controversial evangelist movement and a far-right group.  

ABBA describes itself as a new Christian political party

The party is led by Ivan Grech Mintoff, the former leader of now-defunct party Alleanza Bidla, who has promised to campaign for “Christian values” and to give "dignity back to the Maltese". 

The party lists the right to life, constitutional sovereignty, and personal liberty as its key beliefs.

It has spoken out against Malta’s embryo freezing laws, cannabis reform, a shelved equality reform, and COVID-19 restrictions.

Grech Mintoff had attended demonstrations protesting against vaccine rules and the party had set up trade unions to help employers and workers fight vaccination requirements.  

Several ABBA candidates are also members of the River Of Love, a fire and brimstone movement which has courted its fair share of controversy in the past.  

ABBA candidates: Romina Magro (back, third from left), Matthew Grech (back, sixth from left), Rebecca Paris (front, first from left) and John Mark Attard (front, third from left) are all River of Love members.ABBA candidates: Romina Magro (back, third from left), Matthew Grech (back, sixth from left), Rebecca Paris (front, first from left) and John Mark Attard (front, third from left) are all River of Love members.

The fellowship, led by pastor Gordon Manche has in the past been linked to controversial practices, including the now-illegal act of gay conversion therapy. More recently it was linked to the violent murder of Paulina Dembska.

Her alleged killer, Abner Aquilina, had claimed to be possessed by the devil and had only just attended one of the River of Love’s events a few hours before the rape and killing of Dembska. 

Among the River of Love candidates on the ABBA ticket is Matthew Grech.

Grech describes himself as "ex-gay" and has said that homosexuality is a psychological disorder. He claims to have stopped living a homosexual lifestyle after finding Jesus. 

Another River Of Love member on the ABBA ticket is Stevey Ellul Bonici. 

MaltaToday has reported how Ellul Bonici's father previously worked on the staff of pro-Brexit politician Nigel Farrage. 

Other River of Love members include Rebecca Paris and Romina Magro.

Former Moviment Patrijotti candidate Simon Elmer is also on the ABBA ticket. 

Patrijotti had walked a dangerous line in past elections, suggesting Malta was being overrun with migrants.  

Another ABBA candidate is Antoine Daccache, who has shared video posts by Nazi sympathiser Norman Lowell along with other videos that discuss “global Jewish conspiracies”.  

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