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What I’m about to discuss in this column is a scenario that is based on the best possible reading of the situation at hand. This is not meant to be read as a prediction or even an expression of the outcome I’m hoping for but is more of an exercise in getting down to brass tacks.

Assuming the Labour Party doesn’t implode under the weight of its own criminality, the next general elections are set to occur in 2027. The tone for those general elections will be set by the MEP and local council elections next June.

Based on the polls published by Times of Malta and MaltaToday over the last few months, it seems that the Labour Party has, even in crisis moments like the court’s unequivocal verdict on the hospitals deal or the deeply embarrassing U-turn the party had to pull when faced with the indomitable Isabelle Bonnici, still managed to surpass its second-best competitor, the Nationalist Party. The fascist scumbags at Imperium Europa also seem to be enjoying much undeserved attention as of late, courtesy of the alienated, ignorant segment of the voter base that prefers to turn racist prejudice into policy than come to terms with reality.

While it is apparent that there is a young, disgruntled cohort of voters who do not identify with either prime minister Robert Abela or opposition leader Bernard Grech, it also seems that the Labour Party will go on to clinch what may be a Pyrrhic victory in the upcoming MEP elections. Much of its resurgent support base seems to be dependent on whether disgraced former prime minister Joseph Muscat is allowed to play to the gallery or whether Abela will finally show some courage for once in his life and stop protecting the bastard who fleeced the country.

Having said all that, it is impossible to predict or even estimate what will happen by the time 2027 rolls around. With so many variables in the equation – the most crucial of which is whether a disgraced former prime minister is going to get a very intimate, extended tour of Corradino’s amenities or not – it is hard to even guess whether the Labour Party will manage to get to the end of its term or whether it will have to call another snap election.

As the country’s political crisis worsens, we must ask ourselves what our ideal outcome is.

At this point in time, it is obvious beyond any reasonable doubt that the Labour Party must be booted out of power sooner rather than later. There must be no talk of rehabilitating the party or steering it into a new direction – it is a compromised, criminal entity whose structures must be dismantled and whose representatives in government and within the party must be investigated and prosecuted accordingly for any wrongdoing that they are found to have carried out.

In a political system that has been created and molded in the image of the PLPN duopoly, the closest electoral shortcut to booting out the Labour Party is electing the Nationalist Party. Its proponents will certainly tell you as much, though they will try to put a respectable face to it and tell you that they don’t, in principle, object to pluralism in Parliament.

What they won’t tell you, of course, is that they are a weak opposition with a lame duck leader in charge, that they have no clue what they’re doing when it comes to building an electoral strategy (hoping to ride all the way to Brussels on the European Parliament president’s coat-tails is not an actual plan) and that if they were elected, they are in no position to provide any guarantee that some of the nastier elements among their ranks won’t be as corrupt as the Labour Party is.

Nonetheless, as things stand, one depressing fact remains: someone must be in charge after the Labour Party is booted out of power, and the only contender who is currently in the position to do it is the Nationalist Party. The urgency with which the Labour Party must be removed means that there must be a concerted effort to elect wild card MPs from ADPD and Volt Malta who will be eager to live up to their promises to do politics differently while ensuring that the Nationalist Party is in a position to absorb as many votes as possible from the Labour Party.

In a scenario in which the Nationalist Party successfully manages to win over the segment of the electorate which would opt to vote for either one major party or the other and representatives of these two smaller parties are able to act as watchdogs within Parliament, everything can change forever.

In the best possible case, a benign Nationalist government would be keen to nurse our crippled institutions back to health and conduct a sweeping prosecution campaign against all those who are responsible for the major corruption scandals we’ve seen unfold over the past eleven years, thereby beginning the country’s long road to recovery. It would also need to be the kind of government which is willing and able to enact a future-proof vision that can withstand the great global crises we are faced with today. Ideally, if the Nationalist Party’s strategists had any sense, they ought to be begging to form a coalition with the two smaller parties mentioned above right about now.

In the worst case scenario, a malignant Nationalist government would be elected to power solely out of a lack of better alternatives and therefore pose a threat that may be even bigger than the present one. Though perhaps not to such Disney villain levels of evil, it would be just as liable to corruption, incompetence, and an overall lack of good governance, because its standards are what they are and they are not likely to be any different anytime soon.

However, the reality is that it is frankly irrelevant what kind of Nationalist government we’d be getting, because they would still be infinitely much easier to deal with than any Labour government ever will be. Dealing with a potentially corrupt government is one thing – dealing with a definitely criminal one is another.

Should the Nationalist Party be elected to power in three years’ time, it will no longer have the absolute power that the Labour Party has, simply because Labour in government has tarnished the fabric of our society and has forced major changes in the public’s psyche as a result. There is also the likely possibility that its margin of victory would be much less than the unassailable majority that the Labour Party presently enjoys in Parliament, simply because it is so unlikely that there would be such a dramatic swing in voting tendencies.

Most importantly of all, every pair of eyeballs in the country would be on the new Nationalist government and what it is going to do about the avalanche of corruption that destroyed the integrity of our institutions. When the Labour Party swept to power in 2013, civil society in Malta was at a fraction of its present might, which was one of the reasons why they were able to get away with so much in the early years. A Nationalist government would not have such luxuries at its disposal, and would be forced to walk a tightrope until the public is able to rest assured that it is now in good hands.

None of this is ideal by any stretch of the imagination. But the reality is that we desperately need to start talking about how we’re going to dismantle the Labour Party and what will need to be done after that, because this country needs to remember what it is like to look up at the heavens and seriously endeavour to figure out how things could be better.

The reality is that, short of a bloody coup, the sudden emergence of a third major party, or a Damascene conversion of the existent major parties’ faithful masses, the Nationalist Party must become the Nationalist government, and it must do so either as the lead party in a coalition with smaller parties or as a far more polished, standalone version of itself.

No pressure, Bernard.

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