Eight years have passed since the PN commissioned a report to analyze the state the party was in and to recommend measures to address its shortcomings. The report was drawn up by Anton Grech, Godfrey Grima, Abigail Mallia, Frank Mifsud and John O’Dea.
The PN commission concluded there was a loss of credibility of the PN because “of the many promises of Government, of the Party and the Candidates, that were never delivered, and that should not have been promised in the first place as they could not be delivered.”
Since the report was drawn up in September 2004, the number of disenchanted PN voters has grown as the PN government has failed to deliver on its promises to many different sectors of the population.
On the eve of one election after another, the PN managed to promise something to everything, even though these promises were contradictory and in conflict with each other. The PN knew it could not keep these promises but it felt it had to make these promises to be able to win the general election.
In its report the Commission appointed by the PN stressed more than once that the PN lost credibility, as before the 2003 general election “many promises of every kind were made, promises that were not delivered. Many of the PN activists who spoke to the Commission expressed their concern that “the Party in Government had lost its ‘soul’…Even top party officials admitted to us that they feel that the PN has lost the ‘high moral ground’, which means that the party has cut itself off from the values it embraces.”
The Commission stated that it is easy to find out what hurts many people. “The biggest problem the PN had in this election was the middle class – the biggest class in the country and that extensive parts of it carry most of the burden of taxation and so they expect the country to be administered better and the country’s scarce resources to be used much better. Many associate Ministries, government agencies, the civil service – Government in a few words – with the squandering of many, lack of discipline, lack of will. Most of all it was made clear to us that Government is not governing prudently and wisely, and showing its teeth with those who deserve it and that the country is run more by Government officials than by Government through its Ministers.”
Many people who spoke to the Commission said: “the PN has been too long in Government, surrounded by the same people, there are no new faces in the Agencies and the Parastatal Corporations and the Cabinet. This can give the PN the image that its expiry date has passed, that it is cut off from reality and is not understanding the problems of people … The feeling that the PN is surrounded by cliques of persons whose appointment to such posts cannot be justified, is getting stronger not weaker.”
In its conclusions the Commission said that throughout 2003 the PN failed to take any new bold and imaginative initiatives to renew itself. “The Party should have started making itself seem to be on the side of the people, and not defend those who the people feel are responsible for wasting public funds, and for taking strange and unfair decisions, persons who are perceived by the general public, to be untouchable and who in most cases occupy positions they have neither the qualifications nor the skills for.
Nearly eight years have passed since the Commission delivered its recommendations to the Prime Minister and PN leader Dr Lawrence Gonzi. Many of the voters who abandoned the PN do not believe that in these last eight years Dr Gonzi has managed to renew the PN, to recover the party’s ‘soul’, to remove all the cronies referred to in the report and to give the people of Malta and Gozo a better life.