Robert Abela was conciliatory on Wednesday towards a Birkirkara councillor who went against party instructions by voting against the PL’s nominee for mayor. 

Yana Borg Debono Grech “has a great future in the Labour Party” Abela said when questioned about Tuesday's controversial vote

Borg Debono Grech voted down a PL-led motion for independent councillor Kaylocke Buhagiar to be appointed mayor.

The town has been in a stalemate since the June local council elections. The PN and PL won six seats each in the council, the remaining one going to Buhagiar, a former Labour councillor.

Following the inconclusive voting on Tuesday, Desirei Grech the PN’s most popular councillor (she got three votes less than Borg Debono Grech) was appointed interim mayor for three months in terms of regulations since the PN won the most votes in the locality.   

“I understand where she is coming from; Yana received the most votes in the locality,” Abela said on Wednesday afternoon.

He said he was confident that a compromise could be found between Buhagiar and Borg Debono Grech in the coming weeks.

“It is the wish of all those who voted for PL councillors and even those who voted for the independent councillor to have their locality run by the Labour Party,” Abela said.

He insisted that Borg Debono Grech has a bright future in the Labour Party.

“I hope to see her contest for one of the roles that will be up for election in the coming weeks within the PL. She has a beautiful future, not only in the council, not only in the party’s structures but also beyond that” Abela said.

She is currently an elected member of the PL executive.

Video: Jonathan Borg

Abela said no disciplinary action would be taken for her having voted against the party's motion.  

“An issue such as this is resolved through dialogue,” he said.  

'Alfred Zammit still has a lot to give'

Abela was also asked about another PL councillor, Alfred Zammit, the former mayor of Valletta.

Alfred Zammit.Alfred Zammit.

Zammit, a household name in the PL and the party's media since the days of Alfred Sant’s leadership, was re-elected to the council but lost the mayorship because he did not win the highest number of votes. He has spoken of working with an independent mind, saying some people within the party worked against him in the run-up to last month's local council elections. He did not turn up with other councillors for the swearing-in ceremony and was sworn in separately.  

Abela said Zammit’s work as mayor meant that the PL gained votes in Valletta.

“It is normal to be disappointed when you are not re-elected mayor,” Abela said.

“Alfred still has a lot to contribute to the Labour Party, and I will insist on that contribution in his new role.”

“I will do whatever is possible, and I believe I will be successful in ensuring Alfred remains active in the PL,” the prime minister said.

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