24 July 2011 by Francesca Vella
Sliema deputy mayor Cyrus Engerer, who recently announced his resignation from the Nationalist Party and immediately joined the Labour Party, tells our sister newspaper The Malta Independent in an interview in tomorrow's issue that the PN had made him feel 'used', similar to the way people bring a statue out for the village feast and return it to its niche once the feast is over.
"I am not predominantly gay, but predominantly human," he said.
Mr Engerer, who is considering contesting the general election on the PL ticket on the 10th district, said he had been asked to contest the general election on the PN ticket on the 10th and 12th districts.
If he accepted, he said it would have meant that he approved of the Prime Minister's stand on something he felt strongly about – divorce; at the same time, Mr Engerer said that before he joined the PL, a number of MPs got in touch with him, telling him he was going to be used and that it might not be the right time to contest the general election.
Clearly, hardly any other people in the PN are as outspoken as Mr Engerer with respect to civil liberties, and he feels he was being used as a "token".
Mr Engerer was very active in the run-up to the divorce referendum; in fact he forms part of the group StandUP, which was set up to campaign in favour of the introduction of divorce legislation. Now that the referendum is over, the group, made up predominantly of young people, feel they still need to 'stand up', discuss and campaign in favour of other civil liberties, including gay rights.
Despite the sometimes-harsh criticism he has encountered since he announced his decision to resign from the PN and join the Labour Party, Mr Engerer is determined to continue working hard, with a strong sense of honesty.
He denied that his principles have changed; on the contrary, he feels that it is the PN that has changed, and he felt like he didn't fit in anymore.
In a statement he had issued when he resigned from the PN just over a week ago, Mr Engerer said the party was, is and will remain conservative.
"…this goes against my liberal views. My democratic and liberal views are in conflict with the party's practices."