The person behind the name – Anton Refalo (PL)
As Election Day looms closer we’ll bring you short interviews with those at the centre of the ballots – the candidates themselves.
The three political parties were sent the same questions to pass on to their respective candidates. To date the Nationalist party has sent no replies.
Lawyer by profession, Anton Refalo,was born in Gozo in 1956 and has successfully contested all six General Elections since 1987. He has been the Labour spokesman for Gozo for close to twenty years and was the Parliamentary Secretary for Gozo in the 1996-1998 Labour Government. He is contesting the general elections of District 13 (Gozo)
What attracted you to choose a political career? / What are the highlights of your political career?
I might seem to be a loner because I do not like to indulge in phatic talk. However, I love people and I identify myself with their woes and aspirations. I cry and rejoice with them. Indeed it was, above all other factors, my strong innate desire to help and serve the people of whatever political hue or creed that catapulted me into politics. I have to mine deeply into the daily instances of solidarity with my constituents to bring to the surface the numerous highlights of my political career at the personal level. At the macro-level of politics there is no doubt that my short stint as Parliamentary Secretary for Gozo gave me a deep sense of satisfaction as we succeeded in drawing up a very good Development Plan for the island – the first of its kind in the islands political history – and immediately embarked on its implementation.
What makes you believe in your party?
When I went into politics in 1987 it was the struggle for the improvement of the standard of living and of the quality of life of the people, mainly the lower classes that influenced my choice of the Labour Party. Since then the Party has evolved and has now developed into a big national movement aiming to make Malta and its people the best in Europe. Of course, I too had evolved with the times and I must confess that I had never felt as comfortable with my Party as I do today.
Which party values and policies do you cherish most?
I cherish best our Leader’s values of solidarity and people empowerment and his bottom-up 360° approach in the drawing up of the Party’s policies and programmes.
What can you offer to the electorate and if elected are there any particular issues you will campaign for?
I will continue to serve unabatedly all my fellow Gozitans and to give all my time and strength to help them realize their aspirations through the timely implemental of the PL proposals for Gozo.
PL is breaking away from its traditional image, while PN is slowly moving towards a more inclusive attitude. What are your views on both?
I beg to differ with the second part of your statement as it is quite obvious that the PN has gone into an exclusive attitude and has become a Government of the few for the few. Reaching out to the electorate now is just pulling the wool over the electorate’s eyes. The PN strategists think that they can fool all the people all the time. They are of course gravely mistaken.
Given your background (career) what policies and bill/s will you lobby for?
I have been lobbying for Gozo for the past twenty-five years. Now, if we are chosen by the people to Govern the country, I will strive to see that the Labour proposals for Gozo are duly and efficiently carried out. I am double sure that Dr Joseph Muscat will leave no stone unturned to have our dream for Gozo finally realized.
What should the public expect from a new government?
My fellow Gozitans will certainly expect that sustainable, quality jobs are created for them in Gozo itself. We will not let them down on that.
How do you rate the current electoral campaign and the proposals launched so far?
There is a glaring contrast between the two main Parties. The PN have embarked on a never-ending negative, scare-mongering and divisive campaign; the Labour Movement is carrying out a positive crusade for reciprocal trust and unity amongst all the people of Malta and Gozo.
‘Fil-Parlament ma jikbrux fjuri’ – How do you plan to be effective in Parliament?
If one were to start planning now how to be effective in Parliament in a few week’s, one would certainly be an utter failure. One has to master his fields of interest and be properly prepared to champion them. As I said earlier I have been shadowing and analysing Gozo affairs for more than two decades and I can safely and humbly say that I know the ropes extensively and in-depth. I need hardly say that in the last legislature alone I tabled over 2,500 Parliamentary Questions on the socio-economic situation and development of Gozo. Moreover, I was involved in the drawing up of two development plans for Gozo.I am quite sure that all this will serve me in good stead to be an effective Member of Parliament.
PL has been in the Opposition for years. Is the party ready to govern? Why?
The Opposition is not ready only to govern but to govern transparently, responsibly and effectively. We are resolutely committed on that.
If you are elected in parliament again and your PL is entrusted to govern, do you expect a Ministerial role and given a choice, which ministry would you opt for?
“the President …….shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint the other Ministers from among the members of the House of Representatives” (Art. 80 of the Constitution). Wouldn’t I be overly presumptuous if I were to expect that I can arrogate those Presidential and Prime Ministerial powers to myself?