Opposition leader Bernard Grech admitted on Monday that the Nationalist Party’s conservative stance on certain topics could have cost it young people's votes. 

He was replying to a question by journalist Luigi Sapiano as to whether policies on abortion, divorce and more recently, the recreational use of cannabis had hurt the party.

“It could be that we lost votes on certain issues, but we do not decide on things based on how many votes we could win," he said.

"If conservative means to be against, let me point out when we have been liberal. We campaigned for EU membership, in favour of a modern economy with 10 new economic sectors, in favour of educators, students, the environment, and we are in favour of restoring the country's reputation.”

Grech said the PN is not regressive. If voted to government it will not repeal the cannabis law but it will improve it and reduce the harm it could cause to society. 

On Konrad Mizzi, who will not stand for re-election after claiming that he had found God, Grech said he hoped the former minister had finally found peace, after entering politics for all the wrong reasons.

Asked if he, as prime minister, would remove the police commissioner if the police found that there was no case against Mizzi, Grech said he would leave the institutions free and autonomous. 

“That being said, it is worth noting that under the current commissioner, even investigations into the drone sent to my house have still not started,” he said. 

Passport scheme to be reformed, not scrapped

Asked if he would completely scrap passport sales, Grech said the scheme would be reformed but not removed. 

“There is a difference between Robert Abela and myself. Abela has no ideas how to support the economy, so he is committed to selling citizenship. We, on the other hand, are pushing for 10 new economic sectors,” Grech said. 

“That means the sale of citizenship will not be seen as a commodity, but a gift, that you pay and invest in. You can become Maltese if you successfully undergo proper due diligence, want to invest in Malta and be proud to be Maltese.”

He once again slammed the Labour Party and Abela for waiting a week after the invasion of Ukraine to stop passport sales to people from Russia. 

“It is clear that Abela cannot take decisions. We were clear from the outset, but it took Abela a week to withdraw the scheme for Russians - we need a stable leadership.”

When asked about the constitutional case against party-owned stations, initiated by Chris Peregin, who has since become a PN strategist , Grech said Peregin and himself were on the same side. 

“We are both on the side of the Maltese population. Let us look at the truth, even Eddie Fenech Adami had said that there would be a time when party stations would close down, but we are currently in a situation where state-owned PBS has been hijacked by Robert Abela,” he said. 

Once again Grech called out Abela for copying ideas from the PN electoral programme. 

“All they have to do is change the cover,” he said whilst holding the PN programme.

“We have a clear plan, we are the only party with a clear vision to provide the people a better alternative.”

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