Robert Abela tightens his grip on the Labour Party by removing the King of the Roads

As outlined in a previous post, Robert Abela will now be trying to consolidate his power over the Labour Party. Chris Fearne has been retained as Health Minister which ensures that his previous rival, retains a super-ministry and a degree of influence. However, the other Minister who could single-handedly pose a challenge to Robert Abela is the Minister of Transport who previously was Ian Borg. Now, Ian Borg has been relegated to the foreign desk as Foreign Affairs Minister. Ian has no business being the Foreign Affairs Minister, and the only reason he has been relegated to the foreign desk is that as Minister of Transport, Ian Borg silently garnered a tremendous amount of power in the Party.

The Ministry of Transport is basically the most effective way how to appease special interest groups in Malta namely the construction lobby. Similarly, Lorry Sant in the 1980s had influence and power in the Party because he literally employed directly or indirectly thousands of people apart from making his friends rich with corrupt and lucrative land deals. Transport and Infrastructure Ministers under Nationalist administrations engaged in similar corruption albeit with less violence than Lorry Sant. Ironically, both Lorry Sant and Austin Gatt were known to be too powerful to control even by their Party leaders. As Minister of Transport, Ian Borg managed extensive expenditure on a vast range of infrastructural projects and his budgets were big enough to appease many participants and stakeholders in transport, infrastructure and construction. There should be no surprise as to why Ian Borg was so influential in the Party and yet refrained from flaunting his power so openly. Ian Borg too held Party leadership ambitions once.

Now, with Ian Borg out of the way, Robert Abela can directly take over the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry and impose his interests on it more effectively. Meanwhile, he removes power from a potential challenger of his in the Party.

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