Last Saturday those enthusiastic members and supporters of AD attended an Extraordinary General Meeting to discuss the general election results and to elect a new executive committee.
I would say that the whole event was a healthy exercise of the party. It was also well attended.
People were free to speak up. Many did.
After a short presentation by Carmel Cacopardo highlighting the most important points in the report commissioned by the party, many others aired their views about the way forward for the party.
The main points which were elicited:
* the party needs to work harder to get its message across to a wider audience.
* the party needs to remain principled on issues ranging from the environment to civil rights.
* the party needs to emphasize more the link between the economy, labour issues and the environment.
* the party needs to work harder at locality level and form a strong party base.
* the party needs to keep on working closely with civil society and the independent media.
* the party must cooperate with progressive movements and social and environmental NGOs to offer a strong, constructive and modern opposition to goverment.
Ralph Cassar, Arnold Cassola, Adrian Grima, Stephen Cachia, Alistair Farrugia, Jurgen Balzan, Carmel Hili, Robert Callus, David Mangion, Henrik Piski, Oison Dillon Jones, were amongst those who intervened during the discussion. Mario Mallia chaired the meeting.
The speech by outgoing party chairperson Dr. Harry Vassallo was quite emotional. He thanked all those with whom he had worked as Chairperson throughout the past 9 years. He said that he feels that he did the best he could with the party's limited resources. He urged the party
to remain true to its ideals and said that AD was the only party courageous enough to bring progressive and ecological issues on the political agenda. He said that the party is not hostage to any financially strong lobby. Big applause!
Dr. Vassallo said that he was not "slamming the door and leaving" as some opinion writers
were saying. He said that he wants to see a strong and effective party and urged everyone to give a helping hand.
The members present then approved by secret ballot the nominees for the
executive committee. According to AD's current statute when posts are uncontested the
nominees have to be approved by two-thirds (2/3) of party members attending a
Arnold Cassola was approved unanimously as the new party leader.
I thanked Dr. Harry Vassallo for his services to the party. I tried to explain that Dr. Vassallo had worked selflessly and untiringly at the helm of AD for the past years. A gift to Dr. Vassallo and his wife was presented on behalf of AD as a sign of appreciation and augured that Dr. Vassallo will continue offering his insight and expertise to the party. I'm sure he will.
In his address at the close of the extraordinary general meeting AD's new Chairperson Prof. Arnold Cassola said that AD will continue making its voice herad, expressing its agreement if it agrees with policies and proposals but also criticizing and offering different solutions where necessary.
It was a moving morning. It was nice also to have met new faces.
I'm also happy with the choice of our new leader. Arnold knows that a smile costs nothing and he knows how to be friendly. He never ignores people and is able to make people feel important and special. He is not a brag. His honesty appeals people.
Cassola's experience as a politician, parliamentarian and his vast experience in all the EU countries as a secretary general of the European Greens is an asset which none of the other political parties in Malta can boast about.
Above all Arnold is a listener and encourager. He never ignores people. Write to him and he will surely reply.
Here is a test: Copy this E-mail address and e-mail Arnold on firstname.lastname@example.org
Will he reply to you? I bet he will!