Robert Abela’s new method of selecting a police commissioner will actually change nothing as the prime minister will retain the right to hire and fire the top job, civil society group Repubblika has said.
Dr Abela said on Tuesday a public call will be issued for people wishing to take up the post. Applications will be considered by the Public Service Commission which will draw up a shortlist from which the prime minister will pick a commissioner.
Repubblika said the reform Dr Abela had proposed was cosmetic, more so because he also appoints the members of the Public Service Commission.
The prime minister’s proposals meant that Dr Abela was not prepared to give up or share his powers to appoint the commissioner or to fire him whenever he wished.
The prime minister’s proposal, therefore, did not address the concerns of the Venice Commission about the over-arching powers of the prime minister.
Having a public call for applications would only be useful if the commissioner was then picked by an independent person or body.
It was useless of Dr Abela to say he was going beyond the Venice Commission's suggestion of the prime minister retaining a veto on the appointment of the prime minister, once he was still ultimately picking one himself.
Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar resigned last week. Carmelo Magro is currently acting commissioner.