The Constitutional Implications of Party Organisation and Party Finance – my Law theses 1999

The Constitutional Implications of Party Organisation and Party Finance – my Law theses 1999


Whilst much invaluable work has been conducted both in the field of party organization, by behavioral and political scientists as well as in that of party finance, the topics seem to have largely evaded examination from the constitutional law point of view.  I have humbly tried to tread in such a difficult field.

Modern constitutions can no longer ignore the existence of political parties, as Dicey had done in “The Law of  Constitution.”  Political parties are not mere addenda to the constitutional set-up.  The most advanced position is that obtaining in Germany to which constant reference will be made in this thesis.  An advanced concept worth noting is that of the party state: Parteienstaat.

Political parties have stolen the limelight previously occupied by legislatures.  The whole working of government revolves around them.  The huge expenses involved in discharging their functions render the topic of party finance a central one in any serious examination of political parties.

However I shall not in this thesis treat the two subjects per se but only in so far as they have constitutional implications.  I do not intend to express any opinion regarding any system of financing, state or otherwise and any such expression is purely incidental.  The parameters of this study are set by constitutional terms.

The constitutional implications of party organization are of two types.  The first type are those exemplified by the German Basic Law and which are treated in Chapter 1.  The other type are examined in Chapters 2 and 3 and which relate to the working of the Parliamentary system which is the cornerstone of our constitution.  Chapter 4 deals with the constitutional implications of party finance.

One final word.  Although for the purpose of this thesis, the two main political parties are treated as having very similar organizational structures, even perhaps because both occupy the center within the ideological spectrum, that would not perhaps reveal the whole picture.  The constitutional lawyer’s point of view will not necessarily coincide with that of the electorate.  It is sufficient to note that the Nationalist Party has been obtaining a majority of votes for almost the last twenty years saving a brief period of twenty two months.  Such performance could well indicate a successful functioning of the organization.  The party is being currently led by Dr. Eddie Fenech Adami who has been the leader of the party since 1977.  The MLP on the other hand, have undergone considerable changes especially by the current leader Dr. Alfred Sant who in fact succeeded in the 1996 elections only to be put out of the office after twenty two months.  

The cause may have been a theme so central to this thesis: party discipline.

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