‘Simple Simon’, ‘Simon Bużullotti’, Simon this, that and the other. We've been hearing and reading it ad nauseum since the day the man co-led his party to the biggest defeat at the polls in Maltese history. So now, this time round, why vote for Busuttil? He is ethical, proper, and resilient.

In 2013, we witnessed Busuttil's reverse transformation from successful international diplomat, instrumental in Malta's accession to the EU, to politician with both a career and a party in tatters.

Poached from European Parliament to breathe life into a then clearly rotten PN, he naively took the bait proffered and hit a brick wall. 'Simple Simon' was left to lick his wounds.

Many were those who expected him to slink into the shadows, away from the political arena forever. Busuttil's humiliation was exhibited in stark contrast to Muscat's charisma. Muscat was hailed as Malta's new youngest ever Prime Minister promising a meritocracy and populist dogma of a nation belonging to all. ‘Malta Tagħna Lkoll’ echoed and the echo was loud and clear.

This is the choice we go to the polls to make on June 3 – charisma versus ethics. The choice, to me, is clear. Ethics

The problem with charisma is, of course, that it only runs skin deep. The tougher decisions in politics most often are those you take in favour of the greater good rather than the good of yourself, your family or your friends.

Corruption and skulduggery have always been synonymous with local politics yet the charismatic choices Muscat has consistently made over the past three years go beyond this in humiliating us all within the global arena.

Charismatic choices that have diminished the value of our passports, our financial credibility and the accountability of national institutions such as the police force. The effect of this extends beyond the ways in which charisma should be allowed to determine the present and future of a nation.

Muscat pushed through a number of his 2013 electoral manifesto promises, I'll give him that, but at every crisis point, with every critical choice, his failure to take the tougher decision let us down.

The irony runs thick. At the height of Malta's leadership of the EU presidency we are a nation left licking our wounds because charisma was never deepened into an honest, intellectual understanding of Malta’s role on the world stage or for that matter a sensitivity towards the fragility of our position.

Why Simon Busuttil? Why now? Because Busuttil has a proven track record of resilience, required in crisis management of the type needed now. Also, because Busuttil has an established, international reputation founded on diplomacy and proper procedure and although purportedly less charismatic than Muscat, Busuttil is without a doubt more ethical.

This is the choice we go to the polls to make on June 3 – charisma versus ethics. The choice, to me, is clear. Ethics.

Keith Marshall is a pharmacist and philanthropist. 

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