With just over two weeks to go before the country heads to the polls, Prime Minister Robert Abela, Opposition leader Bernard Grech and three other political party leaders will take part in their first debate later today.
The ‘University General Election Debate’ will be held at noon at Sir Temi Zammit Hall, University of Malta.
The debate is organised by the Malta University Debating Union, a joint initiative between the University of Malta and the University Student’s Council.
Attendance is limited to University of Malta and Junior College students. It is expected that about 550 will attend. All lectures will be suspended for the duration of the event.
This will not only be the first debate of the election campaign but the first time Abela and Grech have debated outside parliament since Abela was appointed pirme minister two years ago.
The two are both contesting the fifth electoral district.
Who is involved?
The debate will involve the leaders of five political parties: the Labour Party, Nationalist Party, ADPD, ABBA and Partit Popolari. It will be moderated by fifth year law student Yasmine Ellul.
Besides Abela for PL and Grech for the PN, Carmel Cacopardo will represent ADPD, Paul Salomone the Partit Populari and Ivan Grech Mintoff will represent ABBA.
Another party, Volt Malta, and independent candidates such as Arnold Cassola did not fit the criteria for the debate, as they are not fielding candidates on all electoral districts.
How can I follow?
Times of Malta will also be reporting the debate on its live blog and streaming the video on Facebook.
What is the format?
The debate is expected to run for about two hours. After opening statements, the moderator will ask a series of questions about different themes directed to the panel in general.
Topics such as the environment, COVID-19, education, transport and stipends are expected to be brought up, but the discussion will evolve depending on what the leaders reply.
The last 30 minutes will be dedicated to questions submitted by the students on the day and chosen at random.
The debate will end with closing statements.