Updated at 1.45pm with PN statement
Outspoken Nationalist Party candidate Salvu Mallia said he is on a mission like his heroes Gandhi, Che Guevara, Malcolm X, and Jesus Christ.
“Like him [points at Manuel Dimech statue] who had a mission, like Christ who had a mission, like St John who had a mission, like Che Guevara, like Gandhi who had a mission, I feel I have a mission,” he said.
Mr Mallia said people may react to this by questioning “who do you think you are”, but Christ, he added, had been met with the same reaction.
Wearing a banner criticising government corruption and with his trusty dachshund by his side, the former popular TV presenter told reporters this morning that Malta was wearing a cultural and intellectual blindfold. He therefore wanted to be the defibrillator needed to shock society back to reality.
"Yes it was shocking when I compared [Prime Minister] Joseph Muscat to Hitler, and I wanted to shock people. If some misunderstood what I was trying to put across it is because of a lack of education and culture,” he said.
Standing by his controversial statement, Mr Mallia said, he did not mean that Dr Muscat was genocidal or a warmonger, but simply that his political methods distracted people with a healthy economy and national spectacles while his government got away with wrong doing.
Yes it was shocking when I compared [Prime Minister] Joseph Muscat to Hitler, and I wanted to shock people. If some misunderstood what I was trying to put across it is because of a lack of education and culture
“I obviously don't mean he is Hitler, like we don't think someone is actually the son of God when we say he is like Jesus,” he said.
Returning to his Nazi metaphor, Mr Mallia said Joseph Goebbels, the infamous Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany, had used smokescreens to distract the German people from the government of the day’s crimes.
"I’m not saying Glenn Bedingfield is Goebbels, he certainly isn’t. Joseph Muscat has a whole propaganda team behind him to put up his smoke screen,” Mr Mallia said.
On his heroes, Mr Mallia said he wanted to stand up for what he believed in, even if this did not go down well with Maltese society.
Comparing himself to St John or Jesus, he said he had a message to pass on.
Other heroes, included 19th century reformist Manuel Dimech, who he said had educated himself in prison and dedicated his life to “real social reform”.
Asked about his public use of expletives and foul language in recent weeks, Mr Mallia said he simply wanted to call a spade a spade.
Before addressing the media on the steps of the Office of the Prime Minister, he laid a bouquet of flowers on the Manuel Dimech monument in Castille Square, removing his hat and giving the statue a thumbs up.
During his 45-minute question and answer session with journalists, he also fielded questions from a self-proclaimed Labour voter who stopped to listen.
While the curious pedestrian and Mr Mallia agreed to disagree, others were less cordial. One man refused to shake Mr Mallia's hand saying he didn’t want to touch his "filth".
In comments to Times of Malta, the Nationalist Party defended Mr Mallia’s outbursts, saying he spoke "from his heart"” to convey his "outrage" against the Labour government.
Mallia has become Nationalist Party leader - PL
In a statement, the Labour Party said that the way Mr Mallia was dictating and making conditions on PN leader Simon Busuttil, his policy and his leadership showed that he had become the Nationalist Party leader.
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