For me it all started barely five weeks ago when the Prime Minister called to ask me to join the campaign team. I had no hesitation. And it has been one huge rollercoaster ride ever since.

With the smallest of margins, the PN is back in office for a record third term in a row. It was a well-deserved victory for Lawrence Gonzi who managed to pull with him a less popular government and a much less popular party.

I must confess that I did not know him so well and it was only in the past few weeks that I have come to appreciate his qualities both as a person and as a leader. I am sure there are others like me who have seen his prime ministerial stature mature with each passing week of the campaign.

But this result was not just a victory for Dr Gonzi, still less for the party. More than that, it was a victory for normality, for stability and for peace of mind. It was a victory for those who wanted our country to continue playing a constructive role in Europe. To score goals, not auto-goals. A victory for parents and their children who want to improve their quality of life. A victory for those who want to keep the door open to new opportunities.

Regrettably, the Labour alternative did not offer this level of certainty. On the contrary, it indicated that it could even undermine it.

This is not to say that the Labour Party is not a great party. Far from it. The votes it garnered are humbling evidence of its sheer force. It was its policies that did not offer the solutions the electorate aspired to.

Ultimately, the MLP failed to see that the people wanted to continue changing but not start from a new beginning.

The policies of the MLP were embodied in its leader, Alfred Sant. I never agreed with his main policy platforms - his stand on Europe is what pushed me into politics. But I cannot help respecting him for his democratic credentials. On that score, Dr Sant deserves all the credit that he can get. I wish him well.

This election also raised the profile of two small parties, but AD in particular. In the end, their votes only contributed to delay the certainty of the result - and with it governability - by two days.

I belong to the school of thinking that one can be more effective in changing the country by first changing the political parties from within and help shape their policies rather than creating new political parties. There is no question that it is the big parties that bring about change. And recent elections amply demonstrate that the big parties that do not change from within are simply changed by the people at the polls.

Here is the big challenge for the big parties, the PN included.

This is not to say that the choice of AD or AN voters should be treated with disdain. Far from it. Theirs is a democratic expression as free and valid as that of any other. If anything, they have managed to influence the big parties too.

There is no doubt, for instance, that AD has managed to put the environment at the very top of the PN's political agenda. And I hope that my party will reach out to AD activists whose good ideas and positive energy can be successfully applied to the benefit of the country. This will not be easy given the acrimony of the final days of the campaign. But nor is it impossible. This is the time for magnanimity, not for pettiness.

And there is yet another party - the voters who stayed at home - whose say cannot be ignored. This time they remained at home rather than vote the PN out of office. But next time round, they may not be so forgiving.

So today it's back to work and back to business. A new government has been sworn in and a new mandate starts from now. There are exciting times ahead. This country has a massive potential that is yet to be unleashed. In five years' time it could be a wholly different place. A much better place.

But we are in this together. We are one country, one nation and one family. And the onus lies on the winners to make sure there are no losers. To reach out and rope people in.

We are all together now.

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