The Nationalist Party is proposing changing its long-held motto Religio et Patria (religion and the fatherland) to Għas-Servizz Tiegħek (at your service), Opposition leader Adrian Delia said on Saturday.
Speaking during an interview on the Nationalist Party’s Net TV, Delia said that the party executive had been holding regular meetings, including one on Friday evening, in which a number of proposed changes to the party statute are being hashed out.
The proposals have yet to be approved by the PN executive. A PN spokesman told Times of Malta that even if the proposed changes to the party statute - including a new motto - clear that initial hurdle, they will still need to be voted on by party councillors before coming into effect.
The proposed change forms part of a suite of reforms that the PN has been working on over the past few months.
Back in July 2019, Delia appointed party veteran former minister Louis Galea to lead a reform process and draft proposals to revive the party.
Asked about the proposal for new motto by Newsbook editor Sylvana Debono, Delia said that if this was eventually adopted it did not mean the party was abandoning its identity. In fact, he said, the PN had recently set up new policy clusters, one of which was dedicated to Maltese identity.
However, he said, the PN needed to adopt a new approach that was closer to the public. The purpose of politics was not to elevate politicians’ public standing, but to improve people’s quality of life.
His first objective, he said, was to effectively get the message out that the PN truly was at the people’s service.
Delia dismissed suggestions that the PN was focusing too much on consultation, saying it was important for the party to be in sync with the public mood.
Asked about the polls which have constantly put the PN behind Labour, Delia said that change would not happen overnight. That said, a week is a long time in politics, he said, adding that things could happen to change the electoral tide.
“For instance, we are no longer in a situation where the economy is thriving,” he said.
Delia was also asked about the way the government had handled the COVID-19 pandemic and what he would have done differently.
He said the island had just gone through a national emergency and at a time like that, partisan politics should have been put on the back burner.
The government, he said had given people just enough to keep them afloat. And, while he agreed that it was important to help those most in need first, the time had come for more to be done.
The government, he said, was not doing enough to help businesses and that was clear from what businesses are saying.
Delia also lashed out at Prime Minister Robert Abela for making major announcements in “propaganda” videos on social media. The Opposition, he said, did not have the resources to commission similar videos and media appearances.
The PN was also not able to match the government's media advertising budget, which it could access through public funds.