Reforming State broadcasting to eliminate the need for political stations and public financing of political parties and independent media houses are among the key good governance proposals made on Saturday by Opposition leader Adrian Delia.

Based on a policy document which the Nationalist Party had unveiled in 2016 as well as other recommendations which are being floated for the first time, these proposals are meant to start restoring Malta's reputation as Joseph Muscat's departure would only be the start, Dr Delia said. 

In a televised address on Net Television, the Nationalist Party leader said that all those tainted with corruption had to step aside, including the Prime Minister whom he described as having been “completely compromised” by recent events. He also took Labour MPs to task saying they were an accomplice, as they could no longer be excused for having given the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt.

“Part of the blame must also be shouldered by the Nationalist Party as in 25 years of government there were shortcomings, but in those years nobody ever predicted that institutions would be manipulated in such manner,” he said.  

While noting that the ongoing turmoil would have economic, social and political consequences, the PN was looking in the long term at how to restore the country’s reputation.  

“What has led to this? What are the roots of the present problems? What lessons can we learn?” he questioned.

Dr Delia said that in order to come out of the present crisis there needed to be “surgical interventions”.

Recalling a set of proposals which the PN had presented three years ago, he called for a different mechanism in order to appoint a President “for the people”, courts which inspired confidence, measures to ensure MPs would be able to truly scrutinise government, and further safeguards to ensure institutions like the Attorney General, the Auditor General and the Broadcasting Authority were truly autonomous.

Nobody ever predicted that institutions would be manipulated in such manner

Other proposals are to introduce State financing for political parties in a bid to prevent them falling prey and getting influenced by private donors who might not have the country's best interests at heart.

Dr Delia also called the immediate cessation of the cash-for-passports scheme, State financing of independent media organisations, tighter controls to limit positions of trust and the strengthening of the Permanent Commission Against Corruption.

Going into further details about these 15 proposals, he said that the Broadcasting authority chairman had to be elected with a two-thirds parliamentary majority.

Moreover, he said that the State broadcaster needed to give ample time for political parties, civil society and other key stake holders to convey their message. Such scenario would eliminate the need for political parties to have their own media. 

As for full-time MPs he said that legislators would also have to be given all necessary resources. On the other hand the recent recommendations of the Standards Commissioner for MPs not to have executive posts and sit on public boards unless they were part of Cabinet should be implemented, he said.

Another proposal is to elect the chief justice by a two-thirds parliamentary majority and reform the mechanism to appoint magistrates and judges. Cabinet’s role should just be to select one of a pool of nominations made by a committee made up of thee members of the judiciary, the Ombudsman, the Auditor General, the Chief Justice and the Standards commissioner, he said.

“This is the way in which our country needs to take to regain its reputation, let’s start rebuilding the country together,” Dr Delia concluded.  

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