Opinion polls have become part and parcel of modern life. Companies wanting to sell a product regularly conduct these polls in order to gauge the prevailing tastes of customers and, thus, tailor their products to suit the clients’ tastes.

Political parties have also taken to opinion polls to gauge the varying political appetites of voters. This trend has been in fashion many years now and the PL and the PN are no exception to this rule.

The two Maltese parties conduct regular polls, the results of which are never revealed to the public. What happens is that they then try to adapt their politics to the prevailing expectations of the voters.

This has, thus, led to the eclipse of traditional socialist values and to the pro­pagation of populistic views, which try to reflect the wishes and expectations of a middle class business oriented society.

In reality, not much has changed in these last eight years: the PL always comes up top and the PN is left trailing, miles behind.

Indeed, this last year, the opinion polls have consistently confirmed that the gap between the PL and the PN is increasing and has become insurmountable.

The polls also confirm the figure of around 25 per cent of Maltese voters who will not reveal who they will be voting for or who declare that they will not be voting at all.

However, there has been a new feature in the past year, something not so evident before. Basically, independent candidates and third parties have increased their vote by around one percentage point: from 0.5 per cent to 1.4 per cent.

Why is this happening?

I believe this is because the PN is consistently proving itself to be an unreliable opposition.

Robert Abela’s PL is smeared in shady deals, sleaze, abuse of power and arrogance. Edward Zammit Lewis, Rosianne Cutajar, Carmelo Abela, Justyne Caruana, Ian Borg and Silvio Schembri are just the tip of the iceberg and abetted by the Speaker’s behaviour as well.

The PN is consistently proving itself to be an unreliable opposition- Arnold Cassola

Even budding new PL candidates, like Katya Degiovanni, have already sullied their hands with nepotistic appointments, like that of her junior lawyer father.

Yet, despite all this, the PN can never gain ground. Why?

Because if the db Group scandal comes up, we find out that Mario de Marco was at one time its lawyer; if the Yorgen Fenech 17 Black bribing issue comes up, we discover that Kristy Debono and Hermann Schiavone were still chasing the scoundrel for money.

And, then, when developer Joseph Portelli says he gives money to both parties... we have complete silence on Bernard Grech’s part.

For Grech, hunting is “imħabba tan-natura” (‘love of nature’); selling Maltese citizenship is also acceptable for the PN leader... all it needs is just a tweak! So, practically, there is no real difference from Labour.

The 25 per cent of fed-up voters want something else: they want clean and honest politicians.

They want justice to be served. They want to live in a normal country where meritocracy is the norm and cronyism is eliminated. The 25 per cent want the environment to be at the top of the agenda in all social, economic and political decisions, which are to be based on sustainable models.

The PN cannot guarantee this because it has a heavy baggage, with strong ties with dubious businesses and organisations.

The reality is that ‘dirty’ Labour is going to be in government with a big majority. The reality is that the divided PN is going to be a very weak opposition for years to come.

The 25 per cent of non-committing voters can be the change we need in the next election.

They will not vote PL and they will not vote PN.

They can be the start of a new form of politics in Malta for the next generations to come, where independent candidates and third parties will raise their hope to be in parliament.

If you are part of the 25 per cent, you have to decide whether you want a weak and divided PN on its own in opposition, lost in its internal matters.

Or whether you prefer also having honest independent and third-party MPs who will scrutinise each other without worrying about their own business-tied party rules.

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide.

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