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?