Robert Abela DOI Clodagh O'Neil

Prime Minister Robert Abela, when pressed by journalists about mounting rumours on a November General Election, did not provide a clear response. Instead, he said the Government is currently fully focused on forming the upcoming Budget 2022 announcement.

Fielding questions from the press, several journalists asked Dr Abela to categorically rule out a November election. Dr Abela repeatedly pivoted towards the upcoming October Budget 2022 announcement, where he said the Government is currently focused on designing, announcing and delivering on the country’s upcoming national budget.

Asked three times to confirm or deny whether a November election will take place, he curtly said: “The date of the election takes place the national interest dictates”.

Earlier this year, Dr Abela said the Government has a responsibility to lead until the end of its mandate. Having taken over from former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in January 2020 after he resigned, and was in turn elected into power in June 2017, the full mandate of Dr Abela’s Government is until 2022.

Despite this, rumours have been mounting that the Government is going for a November election. A Times of Malta report cites sources within Government who say experts are advising Dr Abela to go to the polls in November.

It says the strategy behind this would be to allow the Labour party to carry a feel-good factor generated from another tax-free October Budget into the General Election.

In addition, October will also see the completion and official opening of the Government’s €55 million Central Link project, a major infrastructural initiative expected to improve congestion and traffic.

Further to this, the Malta Employers Association, in its Budget 2022 recommendations, again proposed that Government imposes a moratorium on public service recruitment ahead of the next General Election to prevent a talent drain from the private sector.

It said the association is already receiving reports that such recruitment is taking place, therefore indicating that an election is looming.

“Many companies report that this migration is already occurring”, the MEA had said.

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