A new repositioning strategy, a different approach in policy drafting and a shake-up in the leadership structures have been proposed by Nationalist MP Claudio Grech in a bid to make the PN electable.
Among other proposals, the strategy would ban MPs from requesting or collecting donations and there will only be one deputy leader who will be given higher status.
Titled ‘Project Fusion’, the proposal was on the agenda of two marathon parliamentary group meetings held in November and December.
Key to this change is the paradigm shift which should transform the party’s centralised approach to one based on a fusion of ideas, vision and activism, sources within the parliamentary group said.
“At the same time, each alliance partner must retain its own distinct identity regardless if they are a political party or from the civil society,” the sources said.
PN leader Adrian Delia was receptive though non-committal on the plan.
Former minister Louis Galea, who last July was tasked by Dr Delia to overhaul the party’s statute, was also present for the parliamentary group meetings. Dr Galea was given until the end of this month to present his recommendations.
Though it is not known if Mr Grech’s proposals will be taken on board, the MP insisted his initiative was meant to complement and not rival Dr Galea’s reform. Under this plan, Dr Galea’s role would be to oversee its implementation.
Mr Grech declined to give any details when asked to confirm the existence of the proposed plan and the reason behind this initiative.
The people are yearning for the PN to send out a strong signal of hope and meaningful change
“The people are yearning for the PN to send out a strong signal of hope and meaningful change in the face of the mounting challenges that our country will be facing. Without going into the details, I feel each one of us MPs has a responsibility to contribute to the regeneration of the party, hence rest assured that I shall do my part,” Mr Grech said.
From a policy perspective, the reform seeks to build the next general election manifesto on a set of 15 policy clusters and 79 priority areas. Each of these clusters will be under the responsibility of a shadow minister, who will be supported by a team of experts while front-line candidates will also be roped in.
However, sources within the parliamentary group said that the most resonating appeal to embrace change is the re-wiring of the party’s mindset and strategy to form a real coalition, rather than “a marriage of convenience”.
New leadership structure
Under this reform, the party leader’s role will no longer be “the be-all and end-all” while there will only be one deputy leader who will be given higher status.
It is being suggested that the general secretary assumes the role of a CEO focusing exclusively on administrative, operational and financial matters.
A senior advisory council is being proposed, comprising past leaders, deputy leaders and general secretaries. Apart from serving as a think-thank, this structure, which would be presided over by the outgoing leader, would also be tasked with resolving sensitive matters requiring a stronger degree of experience.
While the party president would have the responsibility to chair the general council and take care of the regional and local administration, it is being proposed to have two vice presidents – one for political strategy and one for party operations.
This reform also touches on the party’s biggest organisational challenge – funding. The biggest change is to ban MPs from requesting or collecting donations with the only exceptions being small-scale, event-linked fund raising. Instead, party operations should be funded exclusively in a new crowd-funding model. There would also be tighter controls on donations from big businesses, not only financial but also in kind.