The waiting game is on


Once again everyone is waiting for the big announcement – ​​the date of the next general election. It is said that today Labor leader and Prime Minister Robert Abela could still give an indication that he will hold an election and it will be on March 26, a week before the papal visit. It would have gone against all predictions and it would mean a very short political campaign.

He said in his interview on Xtra that he wanted a big majority. By a large majority, he hears one more voice than Joseph Muscat’s landslide victory in 2017. It doesn’t matter that there are more voters in 2022 and 16-year-olds are voting for the first time. The most important message to convey here is that in people’s minds, Abela would have beaten Muscat by one vote.

Robert Abela kept everyone in suspense with the date of the elections, including his own ministers, the administration of his party and his closest collaborators.

The thing about Abela is that most people who started working for him, and even those who work closely with him, are still learning his personality, routines and habits.

Indeed, each character is full of surprises and unknowns. And deciphering Abela is not a simple or easy task. Initially, he feels uncomfortable with the protocol, and takes advantage of his photographic memory to recall details and chapters of his life. He tries to avoid confrontation, but if he confronts himself, then he becomes sharp and brutal. The courthouse and politics have honed these virtues.

I once thought it was Joseph Muscat playing chess in his head. But Abela also plays chess, but he always moves his knight and queen back and forth, until he is more than sure of his final decision.

Not a big socialite, in the sense that he likes to spend his time boating, biking and working out in the gym, Abela in short makes both admirers and detractors alike think and wonder.

And he has the ability to not show what he’s thinking while keeping everyone guessing. And in times of war, unpredictability will always be an asset. But in politics, it is also a risk.

In his leadership bid, Robert Abela surprised all of his opponents coming out of nowhere to snatch the crown. Two potential contenders, Miriam Dalli and Ian Borg, opted out of the race to let him run against Chris Fearne, who was simply too confident for his own good in this race.

And in two years in office, Abela has had to brave the music and behead errant ministers in an attempt to maintain his moral authority. COVID-19 may also have helped him assert his authority and suppress those who were more than ready to pounce on him.

On politics and political leadership, Abela has continued to implement the Labor Party manifesto, but it is unclear what lies beyond if he is to be re-elected.

On issues relating to the rule of law, he played the game and showed willingness to accede to many requests made to the State. Still, he probably realizes he has to balance the need to regulate without appearing too restrictive.

And while always ready to give a comment to the press, he’s not one to eagerly sit down for interviews.

Abela entered politics leaving behind a highly successful legal profession that spanned the private and public sectors. Yet this profession has also served the opposition, which has tried and is trying to perforate its seemingly virgin past.

The problem with attacking Abela is that his rivals cannot understand that they cannot treat him the same way they have treated former politicians and political leaders.

Today, Abela will address his soldiers at a celebration of the achievements of the past eight years. He will tell them that there is no alternative to Labor and that Labor will guarantee the best quality of life in Malta and the best for its people.

With inflation under control, limited tax changes, a stable economy, no major economic crisis and eight years of economic growth, opponents of Abela have a steep mountain to climb.

Most PN leaders admit that their time may not yet have come. And Abela can still surprise more than one with his political manifesto.

But it will not be an easy election. Much of the brilliance of the work is gone, and the shadows of corruption and murder are not just lingering thoughts. These are realities rooted in modern Maltese history and in the popular psyche.

But even that worked in Abela’s favor, as political fatigue worked against the opposition, not him.

A reduced majority in the next elections could invigorate the opposition, and a global slowdown in economic growth and rising energy prices, together with major environmental and social challenges, will make Robert Abela’s life very trying. , and sometimes dark. perspective.

Time will tell us. Politics is not a straight line as we have learned. All we can do is wait!


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