An anti-deadlock mechanism that would allow for the appointment of the government’s preferred standards commissioner candidate is "undemocratic" and would lead to a lack of trust in the office, PN leader Bernard Grech said on Sunday.  

The mechanism would allow MPs to appoint a standards commissioner by a simple majority if two initial votes fail to garner a two-thirds majority. The second reading of the bill is on Monday's parliamentary agenda.  

Grech made his comments during a  30-minute interview on NET. He also spoke on abortion and out-of-stock medicine.  

Grech said that while the PN would continue to seek consensus on a candidate, Robert Abela remained dead-set on his chosen man, former chief justice Joseph Azzopardi. 

The PN has even proposed two candidates from the PL camp, Grech said. 

Describing Abela as “arrogant,” and “hard-headed, Grech said “Robert Abela only pretends to discuss issues but is never willing to compromise”.

PL response

In response to Abela's statement, the PL said parliament cannot be held hostage by a "clique running the PN". 

The proposed mechanism still sought to obtain a two-thirds majority when appointing a standards commissioner but allows for a way forward should there be deadlock. 

"The opposition itself had proposed this a few years ago," the PL statement said.


On abortion, Grech said that the PN is the voice of the majority in its opposition to the PL’s abortion bill.  

The bill sets to allow for the termination of a foetus should the mother’s life or health be in “grave danger”.  However, critics, including the PN, say this would lead to the introduction of abortion by another name.  

“They [the government] said they introduced the bill to protect doctors, but doctors said it will not protect them but make their life more complicated, and difficult,” Grech said. 

“Today everyone knows its an abortion law,” he said. 

The PN represents the majority in its opposition to the bill, Grech said, stressing that the PL has no mandate to the introduction of abortion as it was not mentioned before the election. 

Out-of-stock medicine

Grech said health minister Chris Fearne and Abela have mismanaged Malta’s health system and many medicines provided free of charge through the health system are now out of stock.  

“One example is a pill that prevents epileptic fits, people who can drive and lead normal lives because of the medicine are having to buy this from the private sector”. 

"The lives of those who can’t afford to buy the treatment can be at risk,” he said.  

The PN invested in public healthcare, building Mater Dei Hospital, while the PL gave the country's hospitals to the private sector, Grech added.  

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