Friday, 27 December 2013

Malta Today: Government denies reaching pre-electoral agreements with gay lobby

Prime Minister’s spokesperson says Simon Busuttil ‘tried to lure gay lobby in pre-electoral meetings’.
Wednesday 18 December 2013 - 14:48 by a Staff Reporter

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was this year awarded the Soldier's Award for supporting the gay community.

The Labour government's position on civil unions and gay adoptions was guided by principles, a spokesperson for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has said, adding that the PL's position on various issues had also been clearly listed in the party's electoral manifesto.

During Monday's current affairs programme Reporter, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil told host Saviour Balzan that there "could have been an agreement between the gay lobbyists and the Labour Party before the general election", shunning the 'conservative label' which has been attributed to the PN.

The Opposition is now urging the government to seek a social impact assessment test prior to legalising adoption for gay couples.

Questioned by MaltaToday, Joseph Muscat's spokesperson however insisted that Muscat had been "guided by principles".

"The Prime Minister was guided by principles and, at the end of the day, that is what convinced the majority of Maltese and Gozitans," he said.

The spokesperson added that the PL had numerous meetings - including a national congress - with all the country's main stakeholders in the formulation of its electoral manifesto.

"The party's position on civil rights, including civil unions and adoptions was clear in its leader's utterances before the election. Whatever the party pledged was clearly spelled out."

Rebutting Busuttil's allegations of a pre-electoral agreement, the spokesperson claimed that the Opposition leader himself "tried to lure the gay lobby in various meetings".

Again, the government denied there had been any form of contact between the Chinese company purchasing stakes at Enemalta before the general elections.

In criticising the deal, the PN said it was hard to believe that the agreement with the Chinese company was initiated within three months since being elected to government. It also took umbrage at the fact that the deal was announced while the Prime Minister was on an official visit to China.

In its rebuttal, the OPM accused Busuttil of failing "to recognise the business potential that China, as an emerging market, offers".

"He is clearly following his predecessor's failed foreign investment policies," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson also defended the government's take on the Individual Investors Programme, saying that "instead of seeking a way to negotiate, the Opposition launched a fierce attack in a press conference, while pushing negative stories in the international media". He went on to accuse the Opposition of "thrashing Malta's reputation for political point scoring".

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