Dom Mintoff – the series in his memory (4)

On his return, Mintoff explained the reason why he did not agree with Prime Minister Boffa, and started a series of meetings whereby he attacked the same Boffa. Signatures were being collected for a call for a General Conference of the Labour Party. There was an attempt for matters to calm down through an equal casting of votes of 160 votes vs 160 votes so that discussions can continue internally. But the Chairman refused to cast his vote for the simple reason that everybody would know how he would have voted.

The Conference was adjourned, a motion was put forward thanking Paul Boffa for what he had done for the country, while expressing the notion that Boffa did not have the necessary qualities of a leader, considering the difficult phase that Malta was going through. This motion was successful. In the next motion, Dom Mintoff was voted as the one who should become the leader of the party. This modus operandi was correct and legal.

This appointment brought about a divide in the Labour Party. While Mintoff changed his party to Malta Labour Party in 1949, Boffa had created his own party known as the Malta Workers Party. Boffa remains prime minister but he lost six members who joined Mintoff’s party. However, Boffa remained a prime minister of a party in minority.

This divide brought forth a political instability in the country with three consecutive elections in 1950, 1951, 1953, and in 1955. In the 1950 election, both labour parties got eleven seats each. The Nationalist Party got 12 seats and Neriku Mizzi, its leader, became prime minister, but unfortunately, he passed away three months later. Dom Mintoff, as leader of the opposition, had done a speech, praising Nerik Mizzi for always being loyal to his ideology. Gorg Borg Olivier took over the lead, but after eight months, another election was done.

In this election, no party got a majority, but the party of Boffa and that of Borg Olivier, joined forces. Yet, not even this government governed for long. In December of 1953 another election was called for and once again, there was the same coalition between Boffa and Borg Olivier. Throughout all this, Mintoff’s party was getting stronger.

In the 1955 election, the Malta Labour Party called for an Integration with Britian because Mintoff wanted that the Maltese people had the same rights as the British. Mintoff’s party wins this election and Mintoff became the prime minister. But the Maltese Church, under Archbishop Gonzi, did not want the Integration and was against the Independence too, because it was going to lose all the protection that it had from the British.

This was not the first time that Archbishop Gonzi lashed out against Mintoff. Gonzi preferred to have Malta directly governed by Britain than by a Maltese government, This clash between Mintoff and the Church escalated in the 1960s, when Malta went through what is known L-Interdett and id-Dnub il-Mejjet.

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