One of two contenders vying for the seat of Labour leader and Prime Minister told his supporters on Monday evening that he was the underdog but was confident that people will make the right choice. 

Robert Abela said he was swimming against the high waves but reminded people that without his insistence to run for the election, the party’s members would not be choosing the best person to lead the party and the country. 

“I am the underdog but your trust is giving me courage and convincing me that my message is yours. I based my entire campaign on you, the people that matter. I will not threaten you with your jobs if you do not choose me. On the other hand, I will respect your decision. From January 12 we will pull the same rope, working for the same party and the same government in the best interest of the country,” Dr Abela told supporters in Zurrieq. 

Dr Abela claimed on Sunday that he had witnessed vote tampering and requested an investigation. 

He admitted that the Labour government had committed mistakes but that the country’s institutions were looking into these. “I am the only candidate pushing for continuity and implementation of the electoral manifesto. Let’s not change a recipe that worked. If there’s a bad ingredient let’s change it but not the recipe that brought us 10 electoral victories. I am ready to implement changes,” he said.

Dr Abela said the party was too quiet and on the defensive and did not rebut unjust criticism. 

He said that despite resistance he was receiving from different quarters, he was committed to carrying out a “total reform” of the Public Broadcasting Services, the company that manages the national television station. 

The contender also spoke about the importance of unity, including national unity. He said he had called someone working for the other contender, Chris Fearne, who was worried that he would lose his job if his candidate was not elected. He assured him and others that after January 12, he will be pulling the same rope. 

“We also need national unity because our country is going through a difficult time. But we need to respect everyone, including our political adversaries,” he said. He later said that the party which got a 40,000 majority should be allowed to government without disruptions. 

Parliamentary Secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli said she did not have any agreement with any of the two candidates and insisted that she did not need anything.  

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