Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he will not fall for “mudslinging tactics” after turning down a request by Opposition leader Adrian Delia to debate him on Xarabank tonight.
“When people have their backs to the wall, the only way they can recover is if they try and drag us down to their level of insults, hatred, lies and divisive politics,” Muscat told a political rally in Żurrieq this evening. “Imagine a fight between two equals where one decides to dive into the mud and toss it at his opponent but keeps missing the target. After noticing that only their own hands are muddy, that person will ask his opponent to enter the mud with him.”
“Our response is ‘No, my friend, we won’t fall for that tactic.”
The PN today questioned why Muscat was refusing to debate Delia on Malta’s most popular programme when the Prime Minister himself had pitched the European Parliament election as a choice between himself and the Opposition leader.
“Instead, Joseph Muscat doesn’t want a debate on the manifesto of his friend Frans Timmermans and of the European Socialists, who want to impose abortion and deny us the right to decide on our tax system,” the PN said.
However, the Prime Minister said tonight that it was clear from the start of the campaign that there would only be two debates – one on Xtra at the start of the campaign and another by the Broadcasting Authority next Wednesday. The Broadcasting Authority’s style traditionally lacks the competitive nature of debates and involves the leaders taking it in turns to speak at length.
“Yesterday, the Opposition leader decided that he wanted to debate me tonight too,” Muscat said of Delia’s request to debate him on Xarabank. “I urge him to keep calm and hold his arguments for Wednesday. See, this is what happens when you don’t have a plan, when you don’t know where you’re going. You start off the week inventing a story about abortion and end it inventing a story about a debate.”