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Rebranding the PN

What sort of changes does the new leadership line-up need to bring to the Nationalist Party?

(extract from Times of Malta - Opinion 09/12/2017)

The new leadership of the Nationalist Party has three major challenges to face: resolving the party’s identity question; building a successful and popular political programme with a strong narrative and marketing it effectively; and strengthening its financial situation.
This will not be an easy task, but neither is it an impossible challenge.
First of all, we need to clearly define what the Nationalist Party stands for. A vague definition within the liberal-conservative spectrum is not enough. We need to start from the values which unite us: human dignity, liberty, equality, rule of law, solidarity, subsidiarity, and define what these mean to us in contemporary terms. We also have to show how our positions contrast with what Labour has been doing in government.
This development should not happen in a vacuum, but in a process of dialogue within all party structures, and with the backdrop of a properly commissioned sociological study to help us understand better the changes in our society.
This should also help us answer the morality question. Along the years the Nationalist Party has always been less homogenous than Labour, in the sense that its voters have always been a wider spectrum of people with different beliefs. In that sense PN has to regain the centrist ground, and rather than react to whatever the government proposes next, have clear directions while keeping open to proposals, different views and even allow parliamentary free votes. These decisions, however, should not be taken by the parliamentary group alone. The statute demands such decisions be taken by the party’s executive committee, where MPs and representatives from all the party’s committees and branches discuss and deliberate. And as the current leader Adrian Delia had already promised during his leadership campaign, this has to happen in a bottom-up approach, not a top-down imposing manner.
The new way is not just about explaining our values and beliefs. We need to explain how these are going to improve our economic situation, make our quality of life better, create better jobs for our children and improve our healthcare and social welfare. Ultimately, people want to know how our policies can improve their lives.
The biggest change the new leadership needs to deliver is a change in mentality. The Nationalist Party needs to show it has completely shed its perception of an elitist party, where politicians look down on you and where your concerns fall on deaf ears.
We have to completely rebrand ourselves as a new, inclusive, fresh, young, customer-oriented party, where each individual is given his due importance by the politician rather than the other way round.
The new leadership team is properly set to do this. As a starter, it is no longer made up solely of lawyers, but now includes a well-balanced mix of different individuals with mixed backgrounds and professional careers, including also a 31-year-old and other young, new faces. This has been sorely lacking in the past years.
This leads me to the final point: the importance of ensuring the training and preparation of new, upcoming politicians. Ażad is a treasure the party neglected for too long, and this is reflected by the lack of young MPs in the Nationalist Party’s parliamentary line-up. It is time this school of thought and politics is given the importance it deserves to be a constant nursery of new ideas and upcoming leaders.
The mountain to climb is big, but the motivation to do it is bigger. It must be because our responsibility is huge. Our party deserves it and our country deserves it more.

Mark Anthony Sammut, president of the Executive Committee of The Nationalist Party

For the full article, please visit this link.

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