If you’re not able to attend this year’s University General Election Debate organised by the University of Malta’s Debating Union (MUDU) and The Third Eye, make sure to follow this live feed for constant updates of what is being discussed today at Sir Temi Zammit Hall.
15:32: Dr Simon Busuttil (Leader of PN): This election was called so early on. The future of our country is us and you. The decision we make in June will have huge consequences. On the 3rd of June, I believe reason will win.
15:30: Battistino (Patrijotti Maltin): I want you to all consider what we are saying. This was the first time I got the opportunity to introduce the party.
15:26: Marlene Farrugia (Partit Demokratiku): 4 years ago we have dreamt of and accomplished a win, which we thought would lead to a change. We are now facing an early election, only because the Prime Minister was not able to refrain from corruption. We hence did not accomplish the manifesto we presented.
15:23: Arnold Cassola (Alternattiva Demokratika): Winning the election in Malta, it simply means you won the authorities of the country, not leadership. We need to change. They have caused so much harm. For all those who are sick of people like Keith Schembri and don’t want to vote for the nationalist party. Vote Green, Vote Clean.
15:22: Dr Joseph Muscat (Leader of PL): I thank all students and all the organisers. I believe that we have a choice ahead of us. I advise you to take whatever decision you want, as long as you are active. Beyond what we don’t agree on, there are lots of things we agree on, as politicians and as a country. Keep political activism. It was thanks to a group of students that worked with the government on the morning after pill that it was legalised.
15:21: Dr Simon Busuttil (Leader of PN): Send my regards to your father. You will be receiving the manifest at your home.
15:21: Charles Mercieca: One of the proposals given by Simon Busuttil is to give Euro 10,000 to those moving to Gozo. However, things are not yet clear. Could you kindly clarify.
15:15 Dr Simon Busuttil (Leader of PN): The agreements with Barthes will go on, but we will give priority to Maltese students.
15:13 Dr Joseph Muscat (Leader of PL): As per the number of students: there will be 30, the 60 increasing to 300. The Gozo General Hospital will be doubled in size. Saint Luke’s will also re open, hence not only will there be an increase in the supply of students, but also that of hospital beds.
15:11: Question from a medical studnent: Medical students are having problems since there are not enough . How many students will be doing their clinical years with us from Barths?
15:10: All party leaders were awarded 2 extra minutes.
15.08: Battistino (Patrijotti Maltin): The main problem we have is that of overpopulation. It is having its toll on all other sectors.
15:07: Prof Arnold Cassola (Alternattiva Demokratika): Traffic is the cancer of the country. This is taking 3% of the GDP, while we are living in this congested country. We need a reliable source of public transport.
15:05: Segio Sammut: Adressed to all parties. In Malta we have the highest rate of traffic congestion and obesity. We would like a modal shift, from cars to bikes or busses. What will you do since we do not have space for bike lanes, for travelling by bike to be safe?
15:01: Dr Simon Busuttil (Leader of PN): To have investment, we need to have a good reputation as a country.
14:59: Dr Joseph Muscat (Leader of PL): I do not think that we should instil fear in people. There are three sectors which we will invest in, especially in Gozo. We are also proposing that there would be a system to help startups and other companies expand.
14:58: Prof Arnold Cassola (Alternattiva Demokratika) : We have conflicts of interest which need to be fixed. We should make the necessary changes.
14:57: Question related to the finance sector.
14:56: Dr Simon Busuttil (Leader of PN): We should thank God he didn’t stop giving stipends too.
14:57: Jean Claude Gatt: You told students Joseph Muscat won’t increase stipends. However they have increased. What do you have to say about that?
14:55: Dr Simon Busuttil: Joseph Muscat has not driven the economy straight into a wall, but the whole country.
14:53: I have a question for the leader of the opposition. 4 years ago you said that the labour party will drive Malta’s economy straight into the wall. This was definitely proven wrong. How do you expect students to trust you?
14:50: Simon Busuttil (Leader of PN) : I won’t take action if there is dirt without reason.
14:50: How come you did not take action on Beppe Fenech Adami and Toni Bezzina, but expect the Prime Minister to take action on his own members?
14.50: Dr Marlene Farrugia (Partit Demokratiku): Pay attention to Muscat’s freudian slip. People “we have kept”.
14.49: Dr Joseph Muscat (Leader of PL): This is not true; Whoever did not agree could have gone to the ombudsman.
14:46: Roberta Debono: Dr Muscat, prior to the election, there several slogans were used by the Labour Party. Several people and their family members were given several transfers. How can we trust you again?
14:45: Luke Hili (moderator): Questions from the floor will be taken from now on. 16,000 people are following the debate through Facebook.
14.39: Dr Joseph Muscat (Leader of PL): The plan is to build a student residence for foreign students. Underneath this building, there will be a car park. Vassallo group has won the tender on the building of the residence. Discussions are being held with the Malta Planning Authority regarding the height of the building, to make sure that no inconvenience is caused to the people and its surroundings.
14.38: Where is the multi-storey car park you promised students?
14.27: Battistino (Patrijotti Maltin): I will go back to speaking about Mental Health. Mental illnesses’s cause is having to pay high taxes. Or when a women is left alone with children. We have chosen money. That’s all I’m hearing about over here.
14.36: Dr Marlene Farrugia (Partit Demokratiku): With your votes, you can clean the country’s name.
14:35: Dr Simon Busuttil (Leader of PN): I would first of all, go to the European Parliament and state that our country will be clean.
_14:34:_Question from moderator: Currently the name of our country is being mud sledged. I would like to ask you what you would do in order to restore our country’s name?
14:26: Dr Marlene Farrugia (Partit Demokratiku): I do agree with what the Prime Minister said. I do also believe however, that we need to get to the cause of the increase of in mental problems. These people are being forgotten. We need to take them more seriously.
14:25: Dr Joseph Muscat (Leader of PL): We want to create another hospital specifically for mental health next to Mater Dei.
14.24: Another question from Live Feed: Mental health is a big problem. Is there a solution for the situation that students studying Psychology are forced to go to study abroad?
14:23: Dr Simon Busuttil (Leader of PN): I remind you that you have started with a majority of 63,000, and Marlene Farrugia was with you. I have felt that I was obliged to uncover the truth.
14.20: Battistini (Patrijotti Maltin): Harmful acts have always been part of Maltese politics. I have my own party now. I have my own values. I believe it has gone too far. To retaliate one blogger, another one will arise. Before you admit that, in this country, we understand that there is no need for people to insult people’s families.
14:18: Dr Joseph Muscat (Leader of PL): I have no problem being here 4 against 1. I have no problem with political debates.
14.16: Prof Arnold Cassola (Alternattiva Demokratiku): I don not believe in name calling, and it has no place in politics. However, when seeing those around me acting in conflict of interest, I deem it necessary.
14.15: Dr Marlene Farrugia (Partit Demokratiku): This is definitely harmful to our country.
14.14: Question from Live Feed: What do you have to say about politicians constantly calling each other names? What example does this give us?
14:10: Dr Simon Busuttil (Leader of PN): We will keep on working on what has been properly done. I will work towards making gay marriage possible in Malta. I believe in politics in which you will not need me, in which you will not need to beg the Prime Minister. I want you to be able to find a job because jobs are created. Poverty is a huge problem. Joseph Muscat has increased the rent for those living in social housing.
14.10: Luke Hili (moderator): Will you keep on working on civil marriage and LGBTI? Question directed to Dr Simon Busuttil.
14.07: Dr Joseph Muscat (Leader of the PL): I want to help all of you here to be successful. And also those who didn’t make it here. In 4 years we have managed to reduce the amount of people living in poverty by half. Dr Busuttil hasn’t said that if there isn’t an agreement on who will be leading different institutions, he will chose them himself. Also, I can say that I have never built on ODZ.
14.06: Luke Hili (moderator): Honourable Prime Minister, how will the current legislation serve for the better of our country?
14.03: Dr Simon Busuttil (Leader of PN): The Prime Minister has removed the possibility of a proper investigation. The Prime Minister should not choose the people responsible for different institutions. These should be chosen by 2/3 of the parliament. I have learnt a lot from Arnold Cassola about the environment.
14.01: Battistini (Patrijotti Maltin): The same thing will happen all over again. We will go back to square one. There is a need for constitutional change. The president needs to be elected by the Maltese citizens. Otherwise things won’t change. There have been so many cases, yet no one has ever spent a day in prison.
14.00: Dr Marlene Farrugia (Partit Demokratiku) Commented on the falsity of the labour party.
13:57: Prof Arnold Cassola (Alternattiva Demokratika): For 25 years, your parents have wasted their votes on these 2 parties. They have taken everything in their own hands. “Vot alternattiv, vot nadif.”
13.56: Dr Joseph Muscat (Leader of PL): (addressing Dr Simon Busutil) You have members who have had undeclared offshore funds.
13.55: Luke Hili (moderator): I would like you to comment on corruption, and what you will do so as to avoid allegations in the future.
13.49: Dr Simon Busuttil (Leader of PN): No candidates in PN and Partit Demoratiku or any of the other parties has a secret company in Panama. You should have already resigned, Prime Minister. Your declaration does not convince me that you do not have a secret company, but rather that you have already cleared the evidence. We will invest in university. We will invest in startups. We will invest in several companies, and not in just one power station. We will help those wanting to do a PhD while they are doing it, not after. We will also invest in sports education.
13.45: Battistini (Patrijotti Maltin): It has been 53 years since independence day. Since then, we have only had politicians calling each other corrupt. However, none have ever spent an hour in prison. (redirected to the question) Startups in Malta should be prioritised. My party proposes that the minimum wage should be pushed up to 9 Euros per hour. Why shouldn’t a carer have a decent wage?
13.44: Dr Marlene Farrugia (Partit Democratku): We believe that education is led by example. We believe that students should be part of their own educational system. This way everyone would be able to reach their full potential.
13:42: Prof Arnold Cassola (Alternattiva Demokraika): In University we have a problem with lack of lecturers. We hence need to encourage students to take this route. We also need to give students a higher pay. We will emphasise on the quality rather than the quantity of education. We need to be critical. I suggest we should organise Erasmus with Panama, since Dr Joseph Muscat has already made the contacts.
13.40: Dr Joseph Muscat (leader of PL): If I am found guilty, I will resign immediately. The leader of the opposition should resign himself, if his allegations found to be a lie. Throughout these 4 years, we might not have reached all of you. However, those who repeated were given a stipend. We will be working on exempting those studying for a Masters of a PhD from paying tax.
Second Part of the Debate
13.35: Dr Simon Busuttil (Leader of PN): In the election of the 3rd of June there will be 2 elections. One which we will all participate in, and another one decided by the rest of the world, based on the decisions made by us. Our decision will be determine our relationship with the rest of the world. If foreign investment stops, the country will be damaged. We are in a situation we have never been in before. One where the Prime Minister is under a criminal investigation.
13.33: Battistini (Patrijotti Maltin): You are what Malta is to be built on. I would like to give you the life we had. We are against extreme liberalism. There is nothing like the traditional Christian values.
13:32: Dr Marlene Farrugia (Partit Democratku): We are here to give you your future back. We are here because we do not believe that democracy should only be exercised on election day.
13:29: Prof Arnold Cassola (Alternattiva Demokraika): Thanks students for being the only ones to give Alternattiva Demokratika the chance to discuss head to head wth the leaders of other political parties. As per proposals, we do not agree with the current electoral system in University. We will change this. We will work towards having a rector elected form the students. I do not think that the rectors should be given the post from the government.
13:27: Dr Joseph Muscat (leader of PL): What is important is that students vote. I believe that no matter the party Malta is led by, as a country we can improve. Malta has classified, for the second consecutive year, as the most gay friendly country.
13.26: First question: Why do you think that students should put their trust in you, and what proposals do you have for the student?
13.20: Luke Hili (moderator): I would like to welcome you all here. I feel honoured to be here presenting you students. I welcome party leaders contesting for the election on stage.
13.20: Prof Mario Vassallo: Excuse us for the delay. I welcome you to the hall. I would like to remind you that the purpose of the debate is an educational one. The moderator of the debate will be Luke Hili. I welcome him on stage.
13.15: Prof Mario Vassallo: Alleanza Bidla will not be joining the debate. One podium is to be removed. As a result the debate has been delayed.
13:13: Leaders of all political parties, these being PN, PL, tal-Ajkla, Democratic Party, Alleanza Nazzjonali, Patrijotti Maltin and Alternattiva Demokratika, will be present in the hall.
11:35AM: University Quadrangle is already getting full with students queueing to make their way into the hall.
Nicole Borg is a currently a 4th year student studying Communications and Theatre Studies. She joined Insite as a writer and editor in 2014/2015. Following she progressed to join the media team as Publications Officer in 2015/16. Currently she is the Executive Editor of Insite Malta for the term of 2016/17.