The local council election got a bit heated this week when Partit Demoratiku candidate Charles Polidano was assaulted outside his home by a son of one of his closest friends, who then accused Polidano of posing as a Labour Party candidate.
Polidano, an assistant head at the Naxxar Higher Secondary School, needed four signatures to submit his nomination as a candidate for the Qrendi local council. The first on his list was from an old friend of his, a man he describes as “being so close to me that we know each other’s secrets”, and the second and third were two other men.
On Saturday afternoon, two days before the deadline, Polidano needed a fourth signature and insisted a number of people were willing to sign it. However, his old friend suggested that his wife do the honours and Polidano was convinced, particularly as it would mean he’d have a woman nominating him too.
“I don’t want to sound rude but I didn’t exactly need her signature and I got it to honour her husband,” he told Lovin Malta.
“In fact, I ended up disappointed other people who wanted to nominate me but who weren’t among the four signatories.”
“My friend drove my car to his home and went inside by himself to ask his wife whether she is willing to sign my candidature while I waited outside. He returned and told me to come inside, while his wife just asked me where she had to sign.”
He said she knew full well that he was contesting for Partit Demokratiku, which he spoke of as ‘the Orange Party’ “because thats the colloquial term for it in the village”
Polidano then left Qrendi for Tarxien to pick up another PD candidate en route to the Naxxar counting hall, and along the way received a phonemail from an unknown number, who turned out to be Jack Azzopardi, the adult son of his friends.
“The son and I used to wave at each other when we encountered each other on the street and there was never any sort of conflict between us,” he said. “However, when I picked up the phone, he started swearing at me, insulting me and threatening me to hand over my nomination form to him personally. When I hung up, he had the guts to put those threats in writing on Messenger and of course I took screenshots, when I then handed to the police.”
When they reached the counting hall, Polidano called his friend to confirm that he and his wife were fine with endorsing him and got his go-ahead.
“The son had nothing to do with my nomination and his parents are both still lucid, so he had no right to step in for them,” he said. “In fact, it’s very likely that their IQ is higher than his, even at their age.”
However, the son kept calling Polidano and sending him threatening messages after he submitted his nomination. Screenshots sent to Lovin Malta show the nature of the conversation.
“Don’t you dare [hand your nomination] in with my mother’s signature or you’ll end up in my bad books,” the son said. “It doesn’t matter if you switched your phone off because I’ll see you sooner or later. Bring me that piece of paper, I won’t let a dick [liba] like you use my mother like this. Only people who have something to hide switch off their phones.”
Polidano said the harassment got so bad that he blocked him from Facebook and started asking his mobile phone service provider how to block his number.
Then, on Monday, Azzopardi approached Polidano in person while talking to an elderly constituent in front of his home in Qrendi.
“He told the elderly man to go away so as not to see what will happen next, but he stayed where he was. The accused immediately punched me in the shoulder to move me away from the constituent, who urged him to stop. I tried to enter my car but the accused held the driver’s door to stop me.”
“I was strong enough to hold him off and jump into the driver’s seat, but he then used his full force to close the door onto my body, which is how I got hurt. However, I managed to drive away and went straight to the police.”
The next day, Azzopardi was charged in court, immediately pleaded guilty and was handed a two-year conditional discharge and a two-year restraining order in favour of Polidano.
In court, Azzopardi’s lawyer said her client argued with Polidano because he had presented himself to his mother as a PL candidate. Lovin Malta is informed that this is uncannily similar to complaints that the PD had received from the signatories of some candidates ahead of the 2017 general election. Back then, the signatories had allegedly believed that the PD candidates were actually PL candidates after they described themselves as “socialists”.
However, Polidano vehemently denied all accusations of misrepresentation and insisted all four of his signatories knew full well which party he was representing.
“It would be politically suicidal for me to claim I’m contesting for PL when I’m actually contesting with PD,” he said. “I’m an intelligent man and I’m not so stupid as to try and trick people into voting for me by pretending to be a PL candidate.”
Moreover, Polidanos’ friend backed up this argument in comments to Lovin Malta
“My son’s a hardcore PL supporter and a canvasser of a PL local council candidate, and he can be savage and stupid,” he said. “Why interfere in your parents’ decisions? My father raised me not to interfere in his own life.”
He laughed off suggestions that Polidano had presented himself as a PL candidate.
“We drink water, not wine over here, you know…”