PN has new Gozo heavyweight as newcomer Alex Borg wins over 6,000 votes

Newcomer Alex Borg storms into the House with over 6,000 votes, with the force of former minister Giovanna Debono showing its influence

Gozo MP Alex Borg
Gozo MP Alex Borg

The Nationalist Party’s new Gozo ‘heavyweight’ Alex Borg pipped veteran MP Chris Said to be district leader, with well over twice as many votes.

Borg, a former Mr World Malta, garnered 6,108 votes in the Gozo district, thanks to the campaigning support of the Nationalists’ former minister for Gozo Giovanna Debono, whose long-time personal assistant was Borg’s late father.

Said on 2,722 first-count votes in the 13th district, roughly half the 4,462 he obtained in 2017. Missing from this district were former MP Marthese Portelli, and the late Frederick Azzopardi.

Not even incumbent MP Kevin Cutajar, co-opted to the House after David Stellini vacated his seat, managed to be elected.

Borg’s election reconfirms the PN’s zeal to regenerate its crop of MPs with new faces, despite his newcomer status.

Apart from being armed by the muscle of Debono’s staying influence in Gozo, Borg had made headlines after issuing a “wholehearted condemnation” against the NGO Repubblika and the youth group Civil Society Network, whom he described as “irrelevant” to the PN.

Borg had shared a Facebook poll by the NGO Civil Society Network which asked whether a new political party should replace the “faltering” PN as Malta’s main Opposition.

“Wholehearted condemnation to Civil Society Network and Repubblika,” he said, associating Repubblika with the post. “I, PN candidate Alex Borg, completely disassociate myself from these entities whose main goal goes beyond the principles and values of our glorious party.”

“Those two entities are irrelevant to our work in favour of Malta and Gozo. I urge all PN activists, members and candidates to follow these steps so as to keep on strengthening our party.”

Civil Society Network sprung to prominence in the wake of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017, organising a number of street protests to demand justice. But its original structure has since been replaced by a group of youth activists.

Repubblika was set up in 2018, a year after Caruana Galizia’s murder, as an anti-mafia NGO that focuses on safeguarding democracy and good governance. The two NGOs are unrelated.

But Repubblika president Robert Aquilina had dubbed the criticism of civil society NGOs as “fascist sentiments and attitudes” and an attack on democracy, and called for an apology.

PN spokesperson Peter Agius had reacted to the altercation, saying that party members who detract from the party’s message are inherently problematic.

“Anything that distracts us in our mission is helping labour continue the degradation of Malta’s name, environment and societal fabric,” Agius said.

Agius said he would continue working with Bernard Grech to unite the party in a coordinated message.