Former MLP deputy leader George Abela has expressed a willingness to stand for the leadership of the Labour Party.

Speaking on the TV programme Xarabank, Dr Abela said he had been asked by several supporters to stand for the contest to succeed Alfred Sant and he was prepared to meet their wishes.

Dr Abela said in his comments said that prior to the leadership contest, it would be better if a preliminary analysis of the reasons for the MLP electoral defeat was made, so that those concerned could shoulder their responsibilities.

Furthermore, Dr Abela said, he would like party members, and not just delegates, to be involved in the election of the new leader.

MLP general secretary Jason MIcallef, who was a panel on Xarabank, said it would be the delegates who would be electing the new leader. He said he could understand that Dr Abela may not have confidence in the delegates, since many saw him as having left the party just before an electoral campaign. He described Dr Abela's idea as far fetched for Malta.

Dr Abela resigned as deputy leader of the MLP in 1998 when Dr Sant, then Prime Minister, linked a parliamentary vote on the Cottonera project to a vote of confidence and when that vote was lost, called a general election.

Michael Falzon, MLP deputy leader, said he would see what was in the party interest and then decide whether or not to run for the leadership.

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca said many supporters were urging her to run but she had to weigh various considerations.

Evarist Bartolo said the MLP needed a new, open leadership with new ideas able to take the MLP to growth. He did not commit itself on whether he would run.

Charles Mangion, MLP deputy leader, said he was not ruling out participating in the contest. Joseph Muscat MEP said he was consulting his family, friends and colleagues in the interest of the country, the party and his own family. Anglu Farrugia, who was unsuccessful in a leadership contest a few years ago, said he was seriously considering a fresh bid.

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