Day 10 of the electoral campaign is underway on Wednesday, with both main parties and other electoral candidates set to hold events to detail further pledges.
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Here’s a round-up of today’s main events:
- Bernard Grech met developers who presented him with a list of proposals they would like to see introduced.
- Later, the Opposition leader unveiled proposals aimed to make family life easier.
- Children urged electoral candidates from all political shades to sign a declaration committing to champion their aspirations.
- ADPD launched its electoral manifesto
- Prime Minister Robert Abela promised to strengthen teachers' salaries.
Live blog ends
8.40pm That's all from us today. We'll be back tomorrow to give you more 2022 election updates, as they happen. Thank you for having joined us.
Election an uphill struggle, Bernard Grech says
8.33pm During his activity in Mosta, Opposition leader Bernard Grech acknowledged that surveys were not in the PN's favour and confirmed it was an uphill struggle for the party, which was the underdog in this election.
But there was a need for change, he said, and the PN was the better choice for the electorate and the country.
Asked whether he would make space for others in the eventuality of an electoral defeat, Grech said he had chosen to enter politics for the party and the country.
He insisted the opposition had become stronger since he took over but acknowledged this was not being reflected in the numbers.
Asked whether he would prefer stopping the sale of citizenship or continue it so that he would have more funds to carry out more projects, Grech said he would make sure that there are other revenue streams and not face a Hobson’s choice.
He also said he is willing to consider land reclamation projects and offshore wind farms as long as these are studied properly.
Better salaries for teachers, backdated IVF support
7.59pm The Prime Minister promised to “significantly strengthen” teachers’ salaries and will be sending a “political message” during forthcoming collective agreement negotiations with the teachers’ union.
He also promised backdated support to cover medicine costs for couples seeking IVF treatment. The necessary legislation, he said, will be in place within the first 100 days of a new Labour government.
The prime minister also touched upon the murder of Rita Ellul, who was found strangled in Għajnsielem, Gozo saying women still find it difficult to get the necessary support when facing domestic violence, despite strong efforts by the police.
The government, he said, has already sought to introduce harsher penalties for femicides. He promised the government will push these laws through parliament once it re-convenes after the election.
Division of Labour
6.52pm Tonight's Q&A event with the Prime Minister is being led by Wayne Sammut.
Sammut is moonlighting as a host tonight, but by day, he acts as communications coordination within the Prime Minister's office. He also presents a breakfast show on ONE TV.
PN event in Msida begins
6.48pm Bernard Grech’s Msida event is about to start.
Watch it in the video below.
Labour event in Santa Luċija begins
6.39pm The Labour event in Santa Luċija is beginning.
Watch it in the video below.
About those PN family pledges
6.15pm Earlier this afternoon, Bernard Grech unveiled a number of proposals to make family life easier.
The party is proposing to bump up paternity leave to 15 days (it's currently one, and that's not a typo), to make it easier for people to work from home and to introduce a range of subsidies for things like nannies, ergonomic furniture and home helpers.
You can learn about the proposals in greater detail here.
One odd thing about them, though, is that many of these proposals do not explicitly feature in the party's electoral manifesto.
Instead, the manifesto keeps things vague by pledging to "immediately implement the set of measures concerning parental leave and work-life balance."
It also promises to "introduce schemes, legislative changes and new incentives" to help bump up Malta's lagging birth rate.
Keeping tabs on the dear leaders
5.55pm It's dusk, which means the two large parties' evening events are inching closer.
Prime Minister and Labour leader Robert Abela will be in Santa Luċija (start: 6.30pm) while PN leader Bernard Grech is Msida-bound (start: 6.15pm).
ADPD launches its electoral manifesto
5.42pm Malta's greens have unveiled their grand vision for Malta. It's 83 pages long (and, like the PN equivalent, only available in Maltese) and its proposals seek to sweep local politics clean, as the ADPD's electoral slogan implies.
Some of those ideas:
- Limit political donations to €5,000 a year per person
- A fixed-term parliament
- All new cars to be electric by 2030
More about its plans here.
IĠM joins condemnation
4.48pm We wrote earlier that PEN Malta has criticised the Labour Party for including an unaffiliated journalist in a billboard targeting the PN.
Malta's Institute of Journalists, the IĠM, is similarly unimpressed, and has called on the party to remove the billboard.
"The IGM believes political parties should refrain completely from this style of campaigning, especially in light of the 2017 Caruana Galizia murder, and instead focus their energy on ensuring that journalists are better protected," it says.
Behind closed doors
4.28pm Bernard Grech has assured us that there was no backroom dealing with the MDA, away from the prying eyes of the press.
“They didn’t ask for anything. And I can assure you that I will never enter into any such deals. With me, people can be assured a level playing field,” he told reporters, hours after his meeting with the lobbyists.
But, he said, under his leadership the PN would remain “pro-business” and he would not be shutting the door to any person, lobby group or sector.
Grech was answering questions at a press conference focused on unveiling and explaining the party’s family-focused proposals – from increasing paternity leave to making it easier for workers to work from home.
We’ll have more about those proposals, and more detail about them, soon.
So much for 'never again'
3.46pm The Labour Party’s latest billboard accuses the PN (and its leader Bernard Grech) of being anchored in the past. But it does so in a perplexing way, by including an image of blogger Manuel Delia among a ghostly line-up of PN figures.
Delia was a PN candidate in the 2013 general election, but that’s almost a decade ago and he is now unaffiliated.
Free press NGO PEN Malta, which Delia is a member of, has now publicly condemned the party for its poor choice of imagery, noting that the party had in the past used Daphne Caruana Galizia’s face on electoral billboards.
“Robert Abela's condemnation of attacks on the media sound hollow when his party continues perpetuating this hostility,” the NGO writes.
Children want to have their way
3.14pm Speaking of kids... children want to have their say in political decision-making and are urging electoral candidates from all political shades to sign a declaration committing to champion their aspirations.
The declaration commits prospective MPs to work to create an inclusive safe space for child participation.
Remember - for the first time in Malta's electoral history, 16-year-olds will be allowed to cast their vote in this general election.
Read more about it.
The young and the young at heart
2.50pm While Grech was exchanging ideas with the MDA, Robert Abela was out and about at the Junior College for a photo op of his own. He was joined by his wife, Lydia.
Of course, there's room for a platitude about young people and a "brighter future".
Grech's meeting with developers
2.40pm Bernard Grech met with developers, who presented him with a list of proposals they would like to see introduced.
- Raising the minimum wage to €1,000 a month, with tax breaks to incentivise businesses to hire more people
- Requiring the government to sell public land at market prices, following a public call
Grech, on the other hand, said he welcomed the MDA’s stance in favour of state financing for parties because he was “very worried by this talk of big business and politics being too close to each other.”
More about the meeting here.
Who is the puppetmaster?
12.58pm The Labour Party loves to paint Bernard Grech as the palatable face of a shadowy gang that's calling the shots behind the scenes.
Now the PN is flipping that script, by painting Robert Abela as a marionette who acts on command.
"Robert Abela, who's pulling your strings?" its most recent campaign image asks of the prime minister.
Cassola's soup kitchen tour
12pm Cassola ended a tour of the Fransicans' soup kitchen in Valletta by reiterating his call for a decent minimum wage and the need for the state to subsidise utility and internet bills for pensioners.
He said it was heartening to witness the friar's altruistic work at a time when the cost of living continued to increase.
In the meantime, we have been told that ADPD will launch its manifesto at 5pm.
Grech to meet MDA
10.14am PN leader Bernard Grech will be meeting the developers' lobby at 11am. We don't expect to learn anything of note from that meeting - the media will be asked to leave after the initial niceties.
It's an interesting choice of photo op, given the somewhat divisive nature of the lobby group and what it represents.
Shaping up to be a quiet one
9.40pm We're told that, bar any dramatic change of plans, the Labour Party will not hold any events during the day and will limit itself to tonight's event in Santa Luċija.
The PN will be a bit more active, but only just: the party is expected to hold a press conference in the afternoon, followed by its standard event in the evening.
What we know about today's agenda so far
8.51am Good morning and welcome to our live blog on this, the tenth day of the electoral campaign.
Today's agenda is similar to that of yesterday. The schedule begins with independent candidate Arnold Cassola visiting the Franciscan Soup Kitchen on Saint Ursula Street in Valletta at 11.30am.
Both parties have planned events for tonight. Bernard Grech will head to Misraħ San Ġużepp, Msida, at 6pm, while Robert Abela is set to address party supporters at 6.30pm on Dawret it-Torri in Santa Luċija.
And both Labour and the PN will no doubt hold a bevvy of press conferences and events throughout the day, which have yet to be announced.