Updated at 10.20pm with Cacopardo comment
Marlene Farrugia's Partit Demokratiku has agreed to contest the upcoming general election under the Nationalist Party banner on ballot papers, but its candidates will distinguish themselves as pertaining to the 'Orange Party'.
Final discussions are being held and constitutional advice is being sought to establish exactly how the PD candidates will be enlisted on the voting document, but Dr Farrugia told Times of Malta that the coalition cannot afford to lose first-preference votes.
Dr Farrugia was contacted after she uploaded a Facebook post saying: "I'm the 'thug enough to protect, mature enough to step up' part; Dr Simon Busuttil is the rest."
It comes a day after the PN said that talks with the PD were at an advanced stage and the two discussed policies of common interest. These included a sustainable economy, social justice, environment and the renewal of the constitution, under an umbrella of fighting corruption.
"We have to come out as a united team," Dr Farrugia said, clarifying that PD candidates will be listed under the PN banner but "probably" described as "tal-orange" on the voting document.
A PN spokesman confirmed the deal and said details were still being ironed out.
Dr Farrugia insisted that the Labour Party, on whose ticket she was elected in the last election, cannot be given another term in office.
"Some people still don't trust the PN and cannot see it as an alternative government. So we're trying to fix it from the outside. We're convinced we can inject it with the energy it needs. We are small but we can be part of a bigger movement."
In a sarcastic one-line statement, the Labour Party congratulated the Nationalist Party for "now having two leaders".
And in a prompt reply, the PN described Labour's three leaders as "(chief of staff) Keith Schembri, (minister) Konrad Mizzi and Dr Egrant."
Reacting on Twitter, former Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Michael Briguglio said the PN/PD deal is the only possibility for small party candidates to be elected to parliament.
But in a post, AD deputy chairman Carmel Cacopardo said PD would "disappear" and that Dr Farrugia was under an illusion that the PN can change. Alternattiva, he said, was not interested in taking this route.
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