Election watch: If I were Gonzi I would resign

Yup, you read correctly. Before I elaborate, I suppose it would be a good idea to point out that this post is not intended as a reflection on who “should” resign, who “is in the wrong”, who “deserves to be re-elected” or even who “has the biggest balls”. These are all statements pointing towards a political judgement, one that I have no wish to make.

No, this post is to be taken from the point of view of strategies in a game. A big game of chess, if you like. As things stand many feel that Franco Debono has Lawrence Gonzi locked in a checkmate – especially given that Labour have stopped dragging their feet and put their money where their mouth is by moving for a vote of no confidence. Whichever move Lawrence Gonzi opts for he seems to be, to put it delicately,  tricked into an early election. Well, not quite. After all, Franco Debono has gone on record as saying that his only problem is with Lawrence Gonzi. And that he is happy to support anyone else except for Lawrence Gonzi.

So what is the prime minister waiting for? If it were me I’d have long ago signed on the dotted line, uncorked a bottle of the best and settled into my couch to watch the drama unfold with a huge smirk on my face. If you manage to quell those cries of indignation for a minute you will see that this madcap solution might not be as madcap as it sounds. Most likely right now you’re shaking your heads looking for a reason as to why Gonzi should give Franco the satisfaction.

Why should any prime minister be “blackmailed” by one of his own MPs? What about toeing the party line, gentlemen’s honour and all that jazz? Shouldn’t it be the solitary backbencher who finds himself in disagreement with the head of the party to hand in his resignation?  But just stop and think for a moment.

If Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi were to resign, the move would totally knock the wind out of Franco Debono’s sails. In such a situation even Franco would be hard-pressed to find another excuse for refusing to support the government. This means that in one fell swoop Lawrence Gonzi will have:

Saved the country from an early election.

Gotten rid of the Franco Debono problem permanently.

Proven that he places the good of the country before personal glory.

Given all this selflessness, anything else but a spectacular comeback from both the PN and Lawrence Gonzi when the elections are eventually held in due course would be unthinkable. What do you guys think?



  1. Wess says:

    Fully agree!

  2. Spiru says:

    Hah – your conclusion us correct at face value but somewhat naive of inner-party workings.

    Leaders are never leaders by themselves, but are supported by an inner circle of faithful supporters who are usually closest to the said leader and who effectively form the heart of the party machine.

    For the leader to resign, and a new leader to be elected in his place, that inner circle invariably has to be removed. Naturally, no individual who enjoys being ‘at the heart of the action’ (with all the fringe benefits that come with it) would leave willingly.

    Naturally, this would lead to a power struggle within the party.

    So, while you at face value that that all Gonzi has to do is resign and reap the benefits, in real terms it would mean that the PN would be faced with an internal power struggle as new loyalties and support blocs are formed, and everyone dukes it out for position.

    A leadership election is always fraught with difficulties – this would be doubly so, given that the cabinet would no doubt be turned upside down.

    Also, keep in mind that the new leader would have around 15 months to establish their credentials to the electorate before the scheduled election comes along, something that would probably screw over the PN bigtime if it was done in a hurry.

    Bottom line: hardly as simple as you imagine.