The Nationalist Party still has time to convince people to vote for it despite being the underdog, says Net News reporter Keane Cutajar.

Reviewing the events that shaped 2021, Cutajar said the PN led by its leader Bernard Grech has come up with proposals and it takes time for people to understand them.

He was participating in a three-way debate with One News Editor-in-Chief Edward Montebello and MaltaToday Online Editor Kurt Sansone on TVM News Plus’ Xtra.

“There is still time for the PN and despite the polls, what matters is what people do in the voting booth on polling day …

Sansone, who is responsible for presenting the monthly MaltaToday polls, said that according to the results of a government performance survey last October, the government had good marks on the two issues most important to people – l economy and disposable income.

READ ALSO: On the issues that matter, the government gets positive marks, except the environment

This is one of the reasons the Labor Party continues to enjoy a comfortable lead in the polls despite all the tribulations the government has gone through, he added.

“People base their decisions on a basket of problems, corruption is one of those problems but not the only one and not the most important, according to our polls… the problem also comes from an opposition which is fragmented, which is also a problem. factor people take into consideration when choosing who to vote for, ”Sansone said.

Montebello attributed the good results of the survey to Prime Minister Robert Abela’s ability to “see the smaller picture” as much as the bigger picture.

He said Abela’s sensitivity to issues affecting people in the lower echelons of society set him apart from his predecessors.

“The decision to include a cystic fibrosis drug on the government formulary shows that the government is able to empathize with people and their individual needs even though in this case it only affected a few people,” he said. stated Montebello as an example.

Climate change

The COP-26 summit in Glasgow earlier this year was one of the main international events that shaped 2021, but Montebello believes an international watchdog is needed to ensure agreed targets are met. “We need to make sure that words and promises are now translated into concrete actions.”

Sansone noted that tackling climate change would be a major problem internationally for years to come, but governments were faced with the challenge of adopting measures to address the problem that were also socially just.

“It’s good to switch to electric vehicles, but if these are unaffordable, the risk is to restrict cars to the rich, which challenges governments to consider social justice when adopting measures. green, ”Sansone said.

NGO rule of law

Regarding the impact of NGOs on the rule of law, Cutajar said they play an important role as authority watchdogs. “If these NGOs had not protested in 2019, Joseph Muscat might not have resigned … which is why it is important that the voice of these NGOs continue to be heard.

For Sansone, the test of the credibility of NGOs like Repubblika and Occupy Justice will come in time when the PN is in government.

“These NGOs were born in a post-Daphne climate and it is understandable that their main target today is the Labor government and that their public is more inclined to support the NP… if they keep the same energy to criticize what does not. not going, ”he said.

Sansone said Graffitti has been around for almost three decades and that they’ve built their credibility over time. “Today nobody tells Graffitti that they are PN or PL, because it doesn’t matter who is in government, whenever they felt the need to protest, they did.”

However, Montebello insisted that rule of law NGOs had a chance to show their credibility earlier this year when it emerged PN MP Jason Azzopardi had failed to submit his tax returns. between 2017 and 2019. The criticism was soft, he said.

Covid pandemic

The three reporters agreed that the COVID pandemic was the overarching issue that characterized the past 12 months.

Cutajar said overcoming the pandemic and its challenges requires a concerted effort on the part of all.

Montebello noted that the sound economic decisions made by the government ensured that the war chest still provided a solid cushion almost two years later. He said the country has also been successful in reducing unemployment.

Sansone added that the pandemic was a shock to the system and its impact on daily human behavior will need to be analyzed over time.


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