A new political party, aimed at countering the might of the big two, may become a reality as early as next month.

The party could have its structure unveiled by the end of April, according to independent MP Marlene Farrugia, who described it as being of centre-left inspiration.

She has so far been the face behind the new political force and, if it gets off the ground, will represent its interests in Parliament.

Dr Farrugia said another meeting of its core group will be held tomorrow. The talks are aimed at defining a political platform and creating the necessary structures.

“This started as a loose coalition of individuals wanting to bring about change and has rapidly moved towards the creation of a political party with a defined programme and statute,” she said.

Time was pressing, and with an election just two years away, it was important to get things moving fast, she added.

Momentum has been building for the creation of a political force to challenge the two traditional parties ever since the Panama affair rocked the government last month.

The overarching issue that brought a number of people together was a yearning for good governance, transparency and accountability in public life, Dr Farrugia said.

“As time passed, more and more people started making it clear that they wanted a new party and not just a pressure group.”

Pressed for details on the party structure, Dr Farrugia was careful not to jump the gun, because “talks are still going on”.

“Various individuals, from academics to doctors, university students to people active in the grassroots of the two big parties, have come forward and we are working hard to make this a reality.”

As time passed, more and more people started making it clear that they wanted a new party and not just a pressure group

The electorate, she said, had to be given a choice of candidates they could trust.

She was reluctant to reveal any names for the time being, arguing that not everyone who was talking with the core group would eventually be part of the party. “Some may decide to stay away and we have to respect that.”

But popular TV presenter Salvu Mallia has already put forward his name as a candidate in the next election. Disappointed with the Labour government’s lack of resolve to tackle governance issues, Mr Mallia has publicly confirmed that he held talks with Dr Farrugia and was involved in the project.

Dr Farrugia confirmed that talks were also being held with Alternattiva Demokratika, the third political party, which has failed to elect an MP since its inception in 1989.

AD chairman Arnold Cassola said the party was open to cooperation and was speaking to the individuals behind the new idea.

“There will have to be an agreed set of principles and ideas but the time is fertile for a third party in Parliament and we have to offer people this option,” he said.

Dr Farrugia became an independent MP after breaking ranks with the Labour Party last year in the wake of disagreement over the government’s poor record on good governance and the environment.

This will resemble the situation that developed in 1989, when AD was formed.

Wenzu Mintoff, who was elected to Parliament on a Labour ticket but was kicked out of the party after standing up to corruption, was one of the co-founders of AD. In the period between 1989 and 1992, Dr Mintoff was an MP representing AD’s interests.

In its first election in 1992, AD garnered more than 4,000 votes nationwide but failed to elect candidates to Parliament. AD’s best performance in a general election was three years ago, when the party took 1.8 per cent of the national vote.



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