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“Everybody’s fault but himself”

Robert Abela took a swipe at Housing Minister Roderick Galdes during a meeting of the Labor Party’s executive and caucus to discuss Saturday’s election disaster.

But the prime minister blamed “everyone and everything but himself” for PL’s disastrous performance, according to party sources who spoke in confidence to MaltaToday.

The joint meeting took place on Monday evening, 24 hours after the result of the European elections showed the PL falling below 50% for the first time since 2009.

Galdes was singled out by Abela for the social housing fiasco in Siġġiewi, which saw the courts quash the ministry’s attempts to register 99 voters in flats that were still being completed.

Sources said a furious Abela accused Galdes of being surrounded by “incompetent people”.

A source expressed pity for Galdes. “He may not be the most competent minister and the way he was appointed was unfair, but wasn’t the prime minister who appointed him in the first place?”

Contactless administration

In what was described as a tense meeting, Abela also criticized his party’s administration for being out of touch with members and committees. At this time, the deputy leader for party affairs, Daniel Micallef, announced that he will step down from the position.

Sources said that the party administration is nowhere to be seen and felt. “Daniel Micallef is more interested in his professional work; Randolph de Battista failed to address the ward committees and Ramona Attard had little impact,” the sources said, adding that the party had relaxed too much. “We think we will always win and this is a big mistake,” the sources said.

Turning to his parliamentary group, sources said Abela wants his government to focus on key points that are a thorn in the side of the electorate and which he said are punishing the PL.

He blames Vitals, but not himself

The prime minister mentioned overpopulation and the environment as two issues the government needed to spend more time on.

However, sources said the prime minister also blamed the allegations related to the Vitals Hospitals probe as the reason for losing the votes.

But sources who spoke to this newspaper said Abela left everyone confused about the Vitals saga as he had been the one who attacked the judiciary in the first place.

“It was typical for the prime minister. It shows a lack of strategy. How can Robert Abela blame the Vitals saga without pointing the finger at himself? Wasn’t he the one who attacked justice? Having allowed Joseph Muscat the freedom to energize the populace, who are largely unhappy with Robert Abela, how can the Prime Minister now blame Vitals without admitting his own guilt? How was it possible for the Minister of Justice to openly criticize the behavior of the Attorney General?”

Sources said the lack of strategy on the Vitals saga confused voters, and while the hardcore may have been emboldened by the shenanigans involving Muscat, the attack on the judiciary and the content of the inquiry may have disappointed moderate voters.

Abela’s frequent returns leave the ministers paralyzed

The sources said Abela’s frequent returns left ministers unable to make decisions. “The more competent ministers are afraid to make decisions because when they feel they have the prime minister’s support, they are not sure if Abela will change his mind sometime later,” the sources said.

However, there was no hint of this criticism during the internal meeting. “Most ministers never speak, possibly because of their limited capabilities, while the most competent ones don’t even bother to voice their criticism,” one of the sources said.

Another blamed Abela’s lack of leadership. “The loss of votes is due to many problems, but central to them all are lack of leadership, lack of strategy, lack of teamwork and the absence of the party in the localities.”

Hanging from the already dismal result in the European elections is the expectation of a second round of losses in the local council elections.

PL is preparing for more localities to turn blue. “Especially in the central and northern port areas, we will lose councils,” said one source.

The results of the local council elections will be known between Wednesday and Friday.