National Friday 25 November 2011 - 14:53 by Bianca Caruana
JPO calls it a day in politics, will not seek re-election Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando has announced that he will not be seeking re-election in the forthcoming general elections.
Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando
Pullicino Orlando was replying to questions during a press conference that wrapped-up the campaign for the Yes to Divorce Movement.
"No, I do not plan on contesting in the next general elections," Pullicino Orlando said, adding that his experience as the promoter for the divorce bill has been an incredibly positive one.
Asked for his opinion about the Nationalist Party's approval last weekend of a revised statement of principles 'Our Roots' which declared itself as secular and not 'confessional' recognising divorce and gay rights, Pullicino Orlando replied that "the proof of the pudding is in the eating."
He said that it was important to note that society in Malta has visibly progressed more than politics, and that the Nationalist Party has started to recognise this.
Pullicino Orlando expressed his hope that government would now move to legislate on IVF, and give more attention to gay rights.
He called for a law on co-habitation to be published, and that it would include civil unions.
Meanwhile the Moviment IVA wrapped up its campaign with chairperson Deborah Schembri donating €2,000 from excess donations to the campaign to the YMCA.
In all the Moviment IVA collected €30,000 during the divorce referendum campaign.
In a statement issued following the press conference, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando said: “I thought it only right for me to amplify on an answer to a question related to my political future that I gave during the press conference organised by IVA today. I did not feel it correct for me to do so at an event which was not organised by me.”
Pullicino Orlando was the first councillor elected to represent the Nationalist Party on the Zebbug Local Council in 1993 and successfully contested in the 1996, 1998, 2003 and 2008 general elections.
Referring to his choice not to contest in forthcoming general elections after 20 years serving as a representative for the people, Pullicino Orlando also thanked his constituents for the “unwavering trust” shown throughout.
“I have done my best to remain accessible to them, listen to their concerns and act upon them,” Pullicino Orlando said.
He also said that he has already informed Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi about his decision: “I appreciate the fact that he tried to dissuade me from taking it. Party officials had recently suggested that I contest a new district, apart from the Seventh District, and I appreciated their faith in me. I am simply making this announcement now because I felt it was only fair on my canvassers and constituents to do so.”
Apart from advising his party of his decision, Pullicino Orlando also discussed the issue with his family.
“We feel that I have given enough of my time and energy to this role, which has not been an easy one to fill. I have done my best to do so conscientiously. Furthering my political career by avoiding the ‘difficult’ issues has never been on my agenda,” he said.
Pullicino Orlando will continue to fulfil his duties as a Nationalist parliamentarian till the end of this legislature and was also given the task of chairing the Malta Council for Science and Technology by Gonzi: “I will continue to carry it out to the best of my abilities for the full term, which ends in 2013. I will then be able to dedicate more time to my family and to my profession as a dental surgeon.”
He also added that it had been an honour to serve “as a representative of the people in the highest institution of our nation for so long”.
[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on Malta Today's website.]