Just two months after my return from Australia, Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated. Already shaken to my core, the inquiry report released in the recent past simply confirmed what we had known all along – that there was a culture of impunity emanating all the way from Castille.
What has been uncovered before and since that inquiry was not surprising. We are keenly aware of an all too cosy relationship between business and politics that had an immense impact on the governance of our country, as well as Malta’s international standing. None of it, however, is surprising. This all results from inaction and the lack of meaningful reform by the governing parties over the decades.
Once again, we are witnessing an electoral campaign by the PLPN where hundreds of thousands of euros are being spent on billboards, mass activities, advertising, publications and other forms of propaganda.
But where is all this money coming from? We all know that those who are now providing the financing will be demanding something in return. This is a travesty of democracy where those who are not even in parliament are dictating the policies which govern us. Parliament has been turned into an auction house.
We all know that this must stop. ADPD is calling for a number of measures that should assist to restore ethics in public life and ensure Malta is a truly democratic state. This includes an overhaul of existing party financing regulations, which are currently inactive, aside from being insufficient.
Parties should no longer depend on private interests for their financing. The Electoral Commission should not be run by representatives appointed by the government and the opposition. That is like asking someone to investigate and regulate their own behaviour. Likewise, political party representatives should no longer form part of public authorities’ boards. An alternative option would be to have parliament itself oversee the work of these authorities through established parliamentary committees.
The Electoral Commission should not be run by representatives appointed by the government and the opposition- Brian Decelis
Reforms must also account for an electoral system which does not only serve to seal the PLPN duopoly. We require a system whereby people can vote on principles and ethics and have their values represented in parliament. Our current system completely ignores the representation obtained through the votes by other parties outside of the duopoly.
Injustice is inbuilt into the electoral system, which needs to be fine-tuned to ensure that each vote counts. Not only must PLPN votes be counted according to the constitutional mechanisms in place but all votes. Once elected to parliament, MPs should be able to dedicate themselves full-time to their duties, both to be able to perform these better but also to avoid conflicts of interest.
Discrete lobbying that favours certain people over others should be minimised through greater transparency. More meetings should be publicly screened and lobbying registers made commonplace. We need to tackle corruption head-on and such a measure would go a long way towards it.
Another ‘phenomenon’ that has mushroomed over the years is the appointment of ‘persons of trust’ within ministries. It is a well-known fact that such appointments’ system has been abused of in order to engage persons close to the party in government. Employment should be based on competence, rather than as a favour. This practice has cost Malta dearly and should stop immediately.
ADPD will ensure that the recommendations by the Caruana Galizia inquiry will be implemented in full. We must ensure that the true causes of this tragedy are uprooted.
If there was a time when we needed to change the way we do politics in Malta, then there is no more urgent or better time than the present. Ensure that your vote counts by sending the strongest possible message – by voting against the entire corrupt system. Your vote can count towards a brighter, cleaner and greener future… before it is too late.