Alfred Sant on Sunday called on Joseph Muscat to stay on as prime minister on Sunday, effectively turning the tables on the Prime Minister who two weeks ago asked Dr Sant to stay on as MEP by seeking re-election in May.
Dr Muscat has repeatedly said he will not contest another general election and that he will step aside before the next general election. Despite this, calls have been mounting for him to break his pledge and continue serving as Prime Minister.
“I am here because I was invited by the prime minister to contest the MEP elections and in the same way I would like to urge him to continue his mandate as prime minister,” Dr Sant said, speaking during a Labour Party event in Naxxar.
It was not clear whether Dr Sant meant that Dr Muscat should stay on for the whole of the current legislature, or that he should stay on and then also seek re-election.
The former Prime Minister and MEP, who will again be contesting the European Parliament elections in May, went on to speak about the state of politics across Europe.
He underscored the need for social justice, which, he said, was being forgotten.
"For us socialists, the best value is that of social justice and while we think of Malta first and foremost, we also need to think of those most in need in our country,” Dr Sant said.
Speaking after Dr Sant, Economy Minister Chris Cardona, reiterated calls for Dr Muscat to stay on, also using his speech to urge people to vote for all of the party’s candidates in the upcoming election.
Meanwhile, during his address, Dr Muscat said that for him, the most crucial event that took place this week was that of the inauguration of a respite service for those families of people with disabilities.
“What we are doing is unprecedented. In the past it was the NGOs that offered such support, with the government’s help. Now we have roped in the private sector, which has for years been only involved in the care for the elderly. It is important that those with disabilities receive the care they need while their family get the respite they need.
“I am happy because the government is making a difference in these people’s lives,” Dr Muscat said.
The prime minister went on to say that maintaining economic growth was positive, but this was merely “a means to an end” since his government’s main aim was to bring about social justice and social mobility.
“As you all know, I am not a fan of ceremonies but there is one kind of ceremony that I always try to attend – graduations.
“I see parents with tears in their eyes as their children walk up to get their certificates – that is social mobility,” Dr Muscat went on.
Referring to figures on the economy issued last week, the Prime Minister said that looking at the graphs and numbers almost gave him “vertigo”.
“You almost get vertigo when you see the figures. We have high-rises while others are still building bungalows. It’s like we are in a league of our own,” he said.
On new technologies, Dr Muscat said that while it might be scary to think that some jobs might be rendered useless in a number of years as a result of advances in technology, it was important that Malta kick-started discussions on the subject. He explained that Malta should embrace such a change not to be praised but in order to ensure that everyone is protected.
He then reiterated calls by Dr Cardona for people to vote for the Labour candidates in the MEP elections in May.
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