It’s been an extremely hectic couple of months for Maltese politics, full of rumours, scandals, accusations and switching of allegiances. Just in case you’re a little confused, here are the politicians who have switched parties ahead of this year’s snap general election to bring you up to speed.
From PN, to PL, to PD
Four years ago, Marlene Farrugia was slamming the Nationalist government for having “a cancer factory” in the Marsa power station. Only five years before that, she was singled out in Joseph Muscat’s first speech since being election Labour leader (6:14 in this video), celebrating her as somebody who made the switch from PN.
Now, she’s back on the PN ticket, representing her Partit Demokratiku within the Forza Nazzjonali.
Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando
From PN to PL
Marlene’s ex-husband, JPO used to be a star candidate for the PN. His image as a fresh-faced green champion was however ruined in the 2008 election campaign when former Labour leader Alfred Sant exposed that he was secretly planning to build a massive nightclub on a tract of land in Mistra marked ODZ.
Pullicino Orlando had famously denied the claims by chasing Sant all over the islands to face him off in a debate. He even cried on TV days before the election, but days after the result (which PN won by a hair), it became clear that Sant was not lying. JPO was then left out of Cabinet and became a thorn in PN’s side for five years before fully transitioning into a Labourite. Pullicino Orlando is also the guy who successfully forced divorce on the agenda during Lawrence Gonzi’s legislature.
Now occupying the post of chairman of the Malta Council for Science and Technology with a salary of over €55,000 a year, JPO has submitted his application as a PL candidate on the seventh district. Last week, Alfred Sant said he’d rather vote for Tal-Ajkla’s Żaren Bonniċi than JPO, adding he wouldn’t consider voting for him “even if in the interests of the Heavenly Party, and even if he turned up to weep at my doorstep.”
From PL to PD
The current partner of Marlene Farrugia, Godfrey Farrugia was a Labour MP, Healthy Minister and the party’s whip.
Two weeks after publishing a long and heartfelt resignation letter to the Prime Minister, an emotional Farrugia was welcomed at the PN headquarters. Hours later, he announced that he would be contesting the election on a PN ticket, with the Partit Demokratiku, running on districts six and seven.
From AD to Forza Nazzjonali
Up until the last election, Michael Briguglio was the leader of Alternattiva Demokratika. Last week, he urged his Facebook followers to vote for the PN-PD coalition (Forza Nazzjonali) and not for AD.
On his blog, he claimed that “the only reason why some Labour elves are suddenly showing sympathy for AD is because they want a split vote to Labour’s advantage.” Briguglio concluded by saying “AD is still in time to join #ForzaNazzjonali.”
A couple of days later, Briguglio, who still represents Alternattiva Demokrattika at the Sliema Local Council, offered his resignation from AD. “This will be my final post on AD and the elections,” he said. “I respect their decision not to join the coalition, but I disagree with it.”
From PN to PL
A former Siġġiewi mayor in the name of the Nationalist Party, Musumeci switched to Labour around the same time he started going out with Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera.
Today, he is extremely active on Facebook and TV, where he spends most of his time defending the Labour government. He also happens to be the architect who gets most ODZ applications through the Planning Authority.
From PN to AN, back to PN
Josie Muscat was a notorious Nationalist MP from 1966 to 1987, later co-founding the political party Azzjoni Nazzjonali in 2007. The party was best known for its harsh position on immigration, believing that Malta should close its borders to illegal immigration where possible. After his leader failed to win any seats, Josie Muscat decided to resign as leader of AN. He was eventually persuaded to stay on as leader of the party, which later transformed into a pressure group.
Last week, many people were surprised by the news that, three decades later, 74-year-old Josie Muscat will be contesting the upcoming election in the second district on the PN ticket.
While he quickly went on record to say that, despite his past beliefs and controversial statements, he will completely abide by the Nationalist Party’s manifesto, many people are still not completely convinced. During PL’s press conference a couple of days after the announcement, cabinet members Helena Dalli and Deborah Schembri hit out at Muscat for his past statements about women, also showing clips of him speaking out against civil unions and African immigrants.
Ian Castaldi Paris
From PN to PL
Former PN mayor of Lija and the president of PN’s college of local councillors, notary Ian Castaldi Paris resigned from the party in July 2014, claiming he was not shown respect after “an uneasy relationship”.
One year later, he pledged his support to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the Labour movement. “Forgive me Prime Minister, but during the election campaign I did not believe you but two years down the line I am convinced this is a movement that has Malta’s interests at heart,” he told delegates at a general conference, who greeted him with a standing ovation.
Jean Claude Micallef
From PN to PL
Once the member of the PN Executive Council, Jean Claude Micallef cut all ties with his party last March when a programme on NET TV that he used to be on stopped airing. Although he said he did not wish to elaborate on the matter, Micallef said he did not feel comfortable in that environment anymore.
Micallef is the son of Labour candidate Manuel Micallef, and local newspaper Illum had reported earlier last year how many people were approaching Micallef to contest the election with PL in the third district.
Jean Claude Micallef announced his nomination for the general election as a PL candidate last weekend.