Published on February 22nd, 2013 | by Jake Dalli0
Independent Candidates Entertain Students at Quadrangle Debate
Christian Democrat Students SDM hosted independent candidates John Zammit, Nazzareno Bonnici and Tonio Mercieca in a debate at the quadrangle earlier today. Students gathered around the speakers creating a festive atmosphere as they jeered at election proposals in ridicule.
The dialogue was riddled with claims which were mockingly welcomed by the crowd. In spite of the banter, the speakers seemed to have appreciated the students’ reception.
“Emmy Bezzina and myself are the most liberal people in the country,” Zammit boasted as he kicked off the debate. He spoke of the university population as progressive and most likely to vote for him; further questioning students on abortion and divorce. Yet, in his closing remarks, Zammit did not shy away from saying that illegal immigrants should be sent back to where they came from.
In stark contrast was ex-Azzjoni Nazzjonali candidate Tonio Mercieca, who appeared to have turned up unannounced, and stood for the first part of the debate as organisers rushed to provide him with a chair.
He appealed to students to look to him for a conservative voice in parliament, due to the two largest parties having become too liberal. Also a student at university, Mercieca reiterated his plans to build a university car-park, put forward a proposal for student loans to supplement stipends and explored the topic of co-habitation when faced with the issues of divorce and abortion.
Nazzareno Bonnici, contesting under the banner of ‘tal-Ajkla’, seems to have stolen the show – attracting most cheers from the crowd. The elderly man prompted whistling and applause as he claimed that he would obtain not one, but two seats in parliament [despite being the only member of his party].
Speaking of his proposals, Bonnici said he would build factories in Gozo in order to allow Gozitans to work closer to home. Furthermore, he attacked both of the larger political parties – rubbishing the Nationalist Party’s pledge for sound finances; and criticising the Labour Party for proposing a new power plant while the hospital is plagued with long waiting-lists.
Attempting to take advantage of his new-found popularity, Bonnici encouraged students to attend his next mass meeting, which is to be held tomorrow in Birgu – ending his dialogue with a sing-along to his trade-mark ‘anthem’ which was chanted obligingly by the crowd.