Sandra Gauci was elected the new chairperson of ADPD - The Green Party during its annual general meeting on Saturday.

Gauci takes over from Carmel Cacopardo, who had announced his intention to step aside following last year’s general election. Cacopardo will remain active within the party as one of two deputy chairs, alongside Mina Jack Tolu.

An Italian teacher by training, Gauci has taught in public schools for 21 years. She has been active within ADPD for the past three years and will be running for an MEP seat in the 2024 European Parliament elections, alongside Tolu and the party’s secretary general, Ralph Cassar.

Gauci (second from right) speaks alongside (from left) Ralph Cassar, Carmel Cacopardo and Mina Tolu.Gauci (second from right) speaks alongside (from left) Ralph Cassar, Carmel Cacopardo and Mina Tolu.

She is the third woman in Maltese political history to lead a party, after Progressive Constitutionalist Party [and Times of Malta founder] Mabel Strickland and Marlene Farrugia, who led the Partit Demokratiku that eventually merged with Alternattiva Demokratika to form ADPD. 

In her first speech as ADPD leader, Gauci pledged to build bridges with citizens who feel orphaned by Malta’s two major political parties.

“People demand what is theirs by right and not symbolic cheque handouts. They want to live in a country where the rule of law reigns supreme, where one advances on merit and not on one’s connections. The increased erosion of our quality of life should be reversed and we should become hopeful in the country’s future once again,” she said.

ADPD, she said, would continue to focus on the fight against corruption, safeguarding the rule of law, environmental protection, and shifting to more sustainable forms of transport.

Gauci also indicated that the party would, under her leadership, place significant focus on the cost of living and its impact on society’s most vulnerable.

The minimum wage regulation should be reformed to provide a living wage, she said, arguing that the government would easily be able to do that if it properly collected taxes and spent money judiciously. Studies looking into the issue should be made public, she added, noting that they were being funded by taxpayers.

Gauci expressed satisfaction that major trade unions have backed the party’s proposal to calculate the cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) twice a year, rather than annually.

She also noted that a constitutional case the party filed after the 2022 election is due to be decided in the coming months.

ADPD is arguing that a mechanism that allocates additional seats in parliament is unconstitutional, as it only applies to the Labour and Nationalist parties.

The general meeting also approved the ADPD executive committee members as follows:

Sandra Gauci – Chairperson; Mina Jack Tolu – Deputy Chairperson; Carmel Cacopardo – Deputy Chairperson; Ralph Cassar – Secretary General; Mario Mallia – Deputy Secretary General (Organizational and Administrative); Melissa Bagley – Deputy Secretary General (Policy); Brian Decelis – Public Relations Officer; Luke Caruana – Treasurer; Mark Zerafa – International Secretary; and Marcus Lauri and Matthew Mizzi – Members.

Having been elected party leader, Gauci then made her way to Valletta to join demonstrators at a national protest against over-development and planning laws. 

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