Nationalist Party stalwart Louis Galea has been tasked with helping to reform the PN in a time of crisis. He tells Denise Grech he will not be spending his time compiling reports.
What will the reform you are leading aim to achieve? Do you believe it will heal the internal rifts within the party?
We will be intensifying our efforts to evolve the present-day PN into a credible electable political party once again ready to govern effectively when and if the people so mandate it.
The reform will address on one level a number of national issues as well as internal issues referable to the party machinery and the people who man it. Healing is a process which takes time, care, and patience.
It also presumes a number of conditions. The most important of these is the ability to adopt a balanced perspective of the reality the party is experiencing. Healing demands a strong dose of goodwill, of fraternal reciprocal respect, a flexibility to consider moving to other points from which to view different assessments, judgements, potential solutions and changes. Bringing the people involved together in a different ambiance ought to be therapeutic in itself. My job is to facilitate this process.
Your final report is due to be presented within a year. Will the party have enough time to implement the proposals effectively until the next general election?
I will not be spending my time writing reports. I will be working hands-on with our people at the different levels of the party, from local to national levels constructing bit by bit the way forward together. The idea is to realise marked progress within 12 months. There is no guarantee we will succeed but in the meantime, I will give it my all.
How are the challenges faced by the party today different than the challenges faced by the party when you were general secretary?
On two levels. Today we are dealing with a completely different society and a different Labour Party. When the PN was then in government (1987-1996; 1998-2013) we empowered society to liberate itself and take its rightful place in Europe. This changed society rapidly and dramatically, generally for the better. The Labour Party itself under Joseph Muscat changed radically. These confront the PN with a reality which needs to be recognised.
How will you ensure the party will remain relevant to voters?
A party which receives the support of 37 per cent of the electorate cannot but by definition be a most relevant party in any country. Thousands of young modern voters voted for us and are active in the party. But we need to do much more and to rethink our political stance on a variety of issues that are close to the culture and mentality of today’s society, especially the younger generation to ensure we can speak credibly and with authority on issues that impact the common good and future generations.
There is no sense in belonging to a broad political church which allows a rainbow of opinions and ideas to coexist and then one refuses to compromise to achieve agreement on a set of common goals essential for the progress, peace and prosperity of a nation.
Is the internal fighting within the PN caused by different personalities or different ideologies? How will you seek to bridge the divide?
I would say there is a mix of both ingredients and of other aspects as well. For me, unity is not some kind of rigid homogenous framework. In such a scenario, a siege mentality takes over which renounces to any bridging efforts of differences.
I believe in unity in diversity, but a diversity which needs to be harmonised through a genuine process of dialogue in order to achieve common goals for the common good.
As a relative outsider for the past years, where do you think the party went wrong?
I would rather look forward than backwards.