18 Dec Venice Commission proposals are thirty years old
Much fuss is being made about a report by a so called Venice Commission. If people have the basic decency to research the subject and inform themselves they would realise not only that there is almost nothing new in the Report, but also that some of the proposals were made in Malta THIRTY years ago.
Not only is there nothing new in the Report, worse still it failed to touch on the really important things that should be done and in the process it will end up a formidable diversionary tactic from the real issues which will solve nothing at all.
Let’s take the method of appointment of the President. I had made the exact same proposal in Parliament TEN years ago and also written about it in the media. I had proposed that a two thirds majority is required for the selecton of the President, failing which, on a second round of voting an absolute majority would be required in order to avoid a constitutional deadlock. So absolutely nothing new in the Venice Report.
But to add insult to injury the Venice Commission Report proposal is so stale, that even in my speech in Parliament I had explained how the proposal was made twenty years earlier in 1987 by a Parliamentary Committee set up to make constitutional proposals.
So basically all the Venice Commission did was come up with a proposal that was made in Malta THIRTY years ago. For those who have some pride or have the decency to do some research and inform themselves all this information is in the public domain and in Parliamentary speeches.
But in reality, whilst giving more dignity to the office of the Presidnet what will this solve? Absolutely NOTHING. Why? Because ultimately all proposals (thirty years ago, ten years ago and today) have a common denominator – there is no system that will do away with the government of the day ultimately having the final say for the appointment of the President! The government of the day, even after this grand discovery (of thirty years ago!) will always have the final say in the President’s selection.
And if the government of the day will ALWAYS have the final say and the Presidential office remains a government appointment, with Parliament rubberstamping government’s wishes, no one should even dream of giving the President any more powers. Does anyone ever discuss giving the Queen of England or the King of Spain more powers? Obviously not. And the President of Malta occupies much the same constitutional space as these two monarchs – except the one is hereditary the other appointed.
No one should ever dream of giving an appointed President any more powers. Why? Because at least an appointment made by the Minister of Justice, let’s say is open to be scrutinised by Parliament since ministers are accountable to Parliament and then by the electorate since a minister would later presumably stand for re-election. Having the President doing the same appointment would erode these two mechanisms of control ! Presidents are neither responsible to Parliament nor to the electorate !
Thank you Venice Commission for providing a formidable diversionary tactic from the really urgent and pressing issues this country has right now. We are eternally grateful for you coming up with a proposal that was made in the Maltese Parliament thirty years ago and repeated ten years ago. Very learned indeed !
At least let’s start by having some self-respect and pride, respecting ourselves and get rid of the COLONIAL MENTALITY. Let’s tell the Venice Commission that we made the same proposals ourselves THIRTY years ago.