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[WATCH] Performers don’t take kindly to minister’s swipe at Julie Zahra’s Eurovision past

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The Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association has slammed Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli’s comments on Nationalist candidate Julie Zahra’s Eurovision past.

“The MEIA expresses its full solidarity with artists, and condemns derogatory comments which try to ridicule the profession and artists,” it said in a Facebook post.

The two candidates were interviewed on TVM’s XTRA on Monday evening.

Zahra and Farrugia Portelli were debating the party’s proposals, with Zahra claiming the Labour Party had not delivered on a number of proposals.

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Pl candidate Julia Farrugia Portelli and PN candidate Julie Zahra go head to head on TVM’s XTRA: “This is not some stage we’re singing on here”

♬ original sound – MaltaToday

The PN candidate then went on to claim that despite its statements on how prepared the PL was, it had nothing to show for it. “They haven’t even published the manifesto.”

“This is an absolute lie,” Farrugia Portelli rebutted.

The two went on to say they have been contacted by the opposing party’s supporters, who they said told them they would be voting for their party.

“You know how many Nationalists told me they will voting for the Labour Party. This is not some stage we are singing on here, we are speaking about the facts,” Farrugia Portelli told the PN candidate.

Zahra rebutted by telling Minister Farrugia Portelli she should not be ridiculing artists.

“Don’t try to ridicule artists. Why are you bringing up my past? Did I tell you anything about your time as a journalist?” she said.

The MEIA said the country needs more artists who speak about the industry, and less politicians who speak disrespectfully about the arts.

“Ironically, during pandemic times, it’s easier to be a politician on a stage, then an artist carrying out your work,” it said. “It is clear there is still more to be done for the arts to be considered a profession in society.”

Earlier, Farrugia Portelli said the PN suffers from a lack of credibility. “On the other hand, you know that when the PL promises you something, it sticks to that promise. With us you know where you stand.”

Zahra said the Labour government “did nothing on certain areas”.

“What did Labour do on wellbeing, on mental health, on education?” she said.

On voter abstention, Zahra said people should decide whether they want greylisting, corruption, and environmental degradation to continue. “People need to know that they would not be voting for themselves only, but for the sake of the country.”

Farrugia Portelli on the other hand said the PL is not “spiteful”. “It is a party which wants to continue being close to people, and help them overcome their challenges.”

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