The outcome of the June 8 European and local elections is being interpreted as conveying different messages to different quarters. It is a warning to Labour, an opportunity for the Nationalist Party and offers good prospects for budding politicians.

Both traditional political parties must pull up their socks: Labour needs to stem the haemorrhage of votes and the Nationalist Party has to enhance its popular support. They just might, however, be more concerned with the resurgence of an electorate seeking a ‘new politics’.

The two main political parties rarely agree on anything. But they rub shoulders when protecting their habit of governing. They have maintained their hold on power and rarely gave a breathing chance for any other political force to emerge, stopping at nothing.

Benjamin Disraeli’s words come to mind: “There is no act of treachery or meanness of which a political party is not capable; for in politics there is no honour.”

The 31st president of the United States, Herbert Hoover, said that honour is not the exclusive property of any political party.

Still, as Aristotle had put it: “They should rule who are able to rule best.” And, as the latest elections have clearly proved, the ultimate ‘ruler’ is the electorate.

As observed by the co-founders of the activist NGO Il-Kollettiv, which plans to launch a new political party, smaller parties have yet to break the electoral glass-ceiling.

The two main forces have proved to be formidable gatekeepers, but hope is the last to die and the independent candidate who netted the third-highest number of first count votes in the European elections made an encouraging remark. A tectonic jolt shook Maltese politics at its roots and the landscape has changed for good, Arnold Cassola said, noting that 13 per cent of voters opted for third parties and other independents.

True, a swallow does not make a summer and a week is a long time in politics, let alone three years, but his own performance is quite telling. He received just under 13,000 first-count votes and over 22,000 on the last count, the highest amount ever obtained by an independent candidate in 103 years. He might have obtained more first-count votes in 2003 but that was as an AD candidate.

“June 8 marked the birth of a movement for hope,” Cassola said.

And Il-Kollettiv wasted no time in embarking on its ambitious project led by people who have had enough of a political system that often prioritises profit over people.

“We’re not attempting to create a third party, but another party,” Wayne Flask and Matthew Borg said. Third parties, Borg noted, implies they are third-best.

The electorate has shown the yellow card to Labour and dangled the carrot for the Nationalist Party. But it has also rewarded individual candidates, including independent ones, who they feel are closer to them, are more accessible, better understand the exploitation of the little environment left and are willing to genuinely work with them for a better life.

The size of the country and the psyche of the electorate does not allow for too many new political parties. But another one bringing together elements from across the traditional political spectrum may well make ‘new politics’ a reality, not another electoral gimmick. Still, it is in the interest of the new political groupings to find common ground and, possibly, seek coalitions if they are really intent on breaking the duopoly.

And if they do, and if voters could be as ‘vociferous’ as they were last month, the tide may start to turn.

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