A candidate planning to run on the same electoral district as rebel MP Franco Debono has accepted the party’s decision not to include his name on the candidates’ list approved this week, saying “the party is supreme”.

Hermann Schiavone, a firm believer in party loyalty, said he was prepared to serve the party in whatever way the party deemed it fit.

“If Lawrence Gonzi and the party need my services as a candidate, I will be a candidate. If the party needs me in any other position, I will do whatever it tells me. I am in politics to serve,” he said when contacted.

On Tuesday evening, the PN executive approved a list of 60 candidates for the general election, 10 of whom are new.

Dr Schiavone had already soft-launched his electoral campaign on the fifth electoral district before being told by his party to stop presenting himself as a PN candidate.

There still is, however, a ray of hope for Dr Schiavone as the election candidate list is not yet final, as party leader Dr Gonzi said on Thursday.

But Dr Schiavone says he is not thinking on these lines:

“I have been doing door-to-door visits for years because I am one of those who believe that you do not go to people just to get elected. I go to people as a courier of the party’s message.”

He said the fact that his name did not feature on the list “did not change anything” in his relations or work with the party.

Asked whether he would be doing anything to get his name on that list, he said he was not going to push for it. “It’s all about what the party needs from me.”

In the 2003 election, Dr Schiavone was forced to withdraw his candidature on the fifth electoral district – the same one contested by Dr Debono – after an anonymous letter alleged he was involved in some wrongdoing. The police had investigated the claims and he had been cleared.

But Dr Schiavone had later told the Prime Minister’s right-hand man, Edgar Galea Curmi, he suspected the anonymous letter had been sent by Dr Debono, an allegation Dr Debono strongly denies.

The party had said the allegation by Dr Schiavone was unacceptable.

Asked whether this could have had an effect on the decision for his name not to feature on the list, Dr Schiavone said this was a hypothetical question.

“As I said, I have no problem with the PN and will continue serving the party in any post I am asked to.”

Dr Schiavone was mentioned briefly by Dr Debono during Thursday’s PN executive committee meeting, saying he was the only candidate he had objected to.

The meeting approved the party candidate list by a show of hands. It also decided to ban three rebel MPs from contesting the next election on behalf of the PN.

Dr Schiavone said he agreed with the decision. “Had I been asked to vote, I would have voted in favour,” he said.

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