Updated 9.55am - Added Dr Farrugia comments
Michael Briguglio, a former leading light in the Forza Nazzjonali, has blamed his former political ally Marlene Farrugia and her “politics of narcissism” for the dissolution of the PN-PD coalition.
The PN councillor’s comments were a reply to her Facebook post yesterday saying the coalition lives on and that “DeliaPN” was never part of it: “I am legally PN. Politically PD. Historically Forza Nazzjonali. And I cannot be dissolved. Not by a DeliaPN executive anyway,” she said.
The PN on Friday officially dissolved its pre-electoral deal with the Democratic Party, brokered by Dr Farrugia and former PN leader Simon Busuttil, under which they presented a common list of candidates for the general election on a platform of good governance.
After the heavy electoral defeat, the coalition appeared to become dormant, with PD leader Anthony Buttigieg complaining the PN were not even replying to his emails.
She reminds me of Dom Mintoff in the 1990s
In her scathing post yesterday, Dr Farrugia, now a PD MP who was a major figure in the Forza Nazzjonali campaign alongside Dr Briguglio, said the PN could never dissolve the mindset behind the coalition. It was thriving and growing by the day. On the other hand, “DeliaPN is shrinking and haemorrhaging by the hour”.
She said the Forza Nazzjonali was made up of PN and PD MPs together, and was not “miscible” with DeliaPN. The representatives elected in the last election needed to work together if a strong, credible Opposition was to preserve democracy and eventually form a government to replace the “corrupt regime”.
Dr Busuttil declined to comment on the latest developments.
But Dr Briguglio insisted that the blame for Forza Nazzjonali’s failure rested on the former PD leader’s shoulders. In comments to The Sunday Times of Malta, he drew a distinction between “Marlene before and after the election”.
Describing her as a sore loser, Dr Briguglio said Dr Farrugia reminded him “of Dom Mintoff in the 1990s”. He also expressed shock that Dr Farrugia had expressed an interest in the PN leadership race, saying she only acted in her own interest and not for the country’s benefit.
“You cannot be for good governance and assume that your opinion is greater than the democratic process,” he said. He agreed the Forza Nazzjonali mindset that represented good governance should remain but said that the former PD leader failed to live up to the values she had campaigned on.
She attempted to delegitimise the context of the campaign when she put her own interests in leading the Nationalist Party forward, he said. Those who were for good governance did not attempt to disrupt the democratic process of a party’s leadership.
In this summer’s PN leadership campaign, Dr Farrugia said none of the contenders were fit and she would “not exclude” running.
During the May election campaign, Dr Briguglio, a former AD chairman, had insisted that “the only possible way to remove the Panama gang from power is through the Forza Nazzjonali”.
On Friday PD said it welcomed disillusioned political refugees who had been failed by the status quo and who did not recognise Dr Delia as Opposition leader.
Yesterday, PN leader Adrian Delia said Dr Farrugia’s use of the catchphrase ‘DeliaPN’ was an exercise in populism. Forza Nazzjonali was a pre-electoral pact which was a good idea at the time but did not work out. “The PN decided to move forward to become a strong party on its own,” he said, adding that the PN today was not bound by a deal made before the last election.
'Michael Briguglio and the gravy train'
Dr Farrugia was quick to fire off a reply to Dr Briguglio, writing a 1,000-word comment on Facebook in which she suggested the academic-turned-politician was gunning for an MEP seat and compromising his principles to do so.
"It grieves me when I see what I thought could be a potential leader make a fool of himself time and time again," she wrote in a comment titled "Micheal Briguglio and the irresistible gravy train".
She slammed Dr Briguglio for having claimed he was apolitical "while at the same time had had already become a member of the nationalist party", saying that the way he had done had "hoodwinked (cheated) the public."
Seeing Dr Briguglio "screetch" at Civil Society Network rallies while "posing as apolitical" suggested a "messed up mind", she said.
"Mr Brigulio, like many before him has traded consistency, has traded his credibility, his honour for a potential seat in the European Parliament," Dr Farrugia wrote. [He] is being slowly but steadily dissolved in the lethal gravy that drives the political train in our country."
Correction 12.10pm - A previous version of this article quoted Dr Briguglio comparing Dr Farrugia to Dom Mintoff in the '1980s', rather than '1990s'.
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