The rule of law group Repubblika has expressed concern about inaction by the Speaker in the way ministers reply to parliamentary questions.

"The Speaker's inaction when ministers do not reply to parliamentary questions is a threat to democracy," the NGO said

"In a parliamentary democracy, the government has to give account of its actions in parliament. Therefore, the Speaker's position does not make sense, and continues to allow insulting behaviour by a government that does not account for its actions," the NGO said.

Speaker Anglu Farrugia has repeatedly argued that Standing Orders do not empower him to lay down the manner which ministers reply to questions. Many questions are being answered with curt replies such as "A reply will be given at another sitting" or "Information is still being compiled."  On Tuesday Infrastructure Minister Chris Bonett refused to provide information about four road works projects, despite being asked for very specific information about the publicly-funded works, including their cost.

In each case, the minister replied that each of those projects was part of the government’s plan to invest an unprecedented €700 million over seven years to improve road infrastructure. Infrastructure Malta, he said, continues to carry out one project after another to prepare Malta for the future; projects that pre-2013 governments did not have the will or vision to carry out.”

Repubblika said the prime minister should ensure that his ministers supply the information which MPs request in parliament and the Speaker should stop the arrogance of ministers who thought they should not account for their actions.


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