Some reflections on the campaign

I have led a team of 10 fantastic candidates in this campaign. Five of them were contesting a general election for the first time. We managed to engage much more than in other elections.

The broom was an effective symbol which communicated our basic political message: the country needs a good clean-up. We opted for a direct and clear message to convey our views across. The feedback we had was substantially more than in past elections.

Our campaign expenditure was around €7,000. Insignificant when compared to the millions spent by PLPN! ADPD’s campaign was developed organically responding to a number of issues and communicating our manifesto proposals throughout the 32-day campaign.

As anticipated, we encountered the usual difficulties when dealing with the constitutional institutions which have been hijacked by the PLPN.  Primarily I am referring to the Broadcasting Authority and the Electoral Commission.

The Broadcasting Authority once more failed to ensure a level playing field. It has permitted the party-political stations a free hand, as usual. PLPN, notwithstanding, still had access to the lion’s share of the campaign transmissions on the national station.

On Tuesday I met the Chief Electoral Commissioner to discuss a pending request from ADPD relative to the vote-counting process. This concerned access to the electoral counting data as is currently given to the PLPN. When the counting of votes was done manually it was possible to carry out visual monitoring to ensure that the counting process was properly managed. This cannot be done today without access to the electronic data held by the Commission. PLPN have been given this right of access and they can as a result check and verify the counting process. 

The Electoral Commission is withholding this right of access to ADPD. Without such a right of access to data held by the Commission we cannot verify the counting process and consequently we cannot put our mind at rest as to the absence of foul play in the process. The Commission has been aware for some time as to our request, and hence it is not acceptable to be informed at such a late hour of their refusal to grant the requested access. The Commission is basing its position on the electoral law which grants exclusive rights of access to political parties represented in parliament. The law, however grants the Commission the authority to remedy such issues. If the Commission keeps refusing to solve the problem it will confirm yet again that PLPN have hijacked this important institution too.

On a different note, I must thank my friend Dr Jean-Pierre Farrugia for publicly endorsing the ADPD campaign. I was not expecting this but it was definitely most welcome.

This Sunday will be a long day. The counting process will be swifter than in previous general elections due to electronic counting. Early in the day we will have the first projections of the results. Then, in the early afternoon the full results will be known. At that point the results will be analysed and the necessary conclusions drawn.

During the campaign I made the point that, subject to obtaining a reasonable number of votes, ADPD will be taking the necessary action to ensure that each and every vote cast has a bearing on the final result. Towards the end of the counting process, I will have the opportunity to address the press and outline the way forward.

published in The Malta Independent on Sunday: 27 March 2022

Il-PN, Chris Peregin u l-imparzjalità fix-xandir

Il-Partit Nazzjonalista qed jilmenta dwar l-imparzjalità fix-xandir pubbliku. Anke aħna, ilna ħafna nilmentaw. Mhux illum biss. Ilna għaddejjin biha. Ix-xandir pubbliku, b’mod sfaċċat jew inkella b’mod iktar fin dejjem qeda lill-partit fil-Gvern. Il-Gvern tal-lum u l-Gvern tal-bieraħ!

Il-PN qed jilmenta minkejja li għandu l-istazzjoni tiegħu, kemm tat-TV kif ukoll tar-radju. Hemm il-gazzetti ukoll. Ma dawn żid ukoll xi palata minn xi “indipendenti”. Il-PN qed iħossa, aħseb u ara aħna li m’għandiex TV, radju jew gazzetti.

Il-PN imma għandu opportunità, kieku jrid, biex juri lil kulħadd kif ikun ix-xandir imparzjali. Jekk irid jista’ mil-lum għal għada jittrasforma in-NET, il-101 u l-gazzetti tiegħu f’mezzi fejn l-imparzjalità tirrenja. Minflok għandna propaganda partiġjana li ma tieqaf qatt.

Il-konsulent strateġiku tal-PN, Chris Peregin, xi żmien ilu ukoll kien jitkellem favur l-imparzjalità. Mhux ħafna ilu, iżda biss ftit xhur. Jekk tiftakru kien fetaħ kawża kostituzzjonali biex l-Awtorità tax-Xandir tagħmel dmirha u tara li l-istazzjonjijiet politiċi ukoll iħaddnu l-imparzjalità. In-NET u l-ONE jiġifieri.

Issa suppost li Peregin għandu l-possibilità li jinfluwenza l-mixja tal-PN lejn l-imparzjalità: biex mill-paroli jgħaddi għall-fatti!

Hemm kompetizzjoni ghaddejja bejn liema mill-istazzjonijiet hu l-iktar partiġjan! Kompetizzjoni bejn il-ONE, in-NET u TVM. Għax in-nuqqas tal-imparzjalità tax-xandir pubblika hi mmultiplikata fl-istazzjonijiet politiċi li huma għodda ta’propaganda kontinwa li m’għandux ikun hemm post għalihom f’demokrazija moderna fl-Unjoni Ewropea.

Kif għidna fil-konferenza stampa iktar kmieni illum hemm ħtieġa ta’ riforma mill-qiegħ tax-xandir pubbliku li għandu jwassal biex dan ma jibqax ir-responsabbiltà diretta ta’ Ministru iżda għandu jitmexxa b’mod li jkun indipendenti mill-Gvern tal-ġurnata. Dan jgħodd ukoll għar-regolatur (l-Awtorità tax-Xandir) li m’għandux jibqa’ dominat minn ħatriet li jsiru mill-Gvern.

Jeżistu mudelli differenti f’diversi pajjiżi fejn huwa l-Parlament li b’mod responsabbli jassigura li x-xandir pubbliku jkun ta’ servizz lejn il-pajjiz kollu u mhux lejn il-partit fil-Gvern. Dan jista’ jsir biss meta l-Parlament ma jibqax iddominat mill-PLPN izda jkun hemm spazju għal ilħna oħra.

Biex leħen l-Alternattiva Demokratika jinstema fuq NET u ONE

Broadcasting Authority-Malta

Alternattiva Demokratika talbet lill-Awtorita’ tax-Xandir biex tassigura li leħen AD jinstema fuq ix-xandir pubbliku viżiv matul il-kampanja elettorali li ser tibda għada. Dwar dan qed nistennew risposta mingħand l-Awtorita’ tax-Xandir forsi ma jibqax ikollna programmi bħal Xarabank li jagħti 50 minuta lill-PN, 50 minuta lill-PL u lill-AD l-mizerja ta’ 8 minuti. Forsi ma nibqgħux bi programmi bħal Dissett li jistieden biss lill-PN u lill-PL u mingħandna jieħu kumment qasir rrekordjat. Jew program bħal Bondi+ li jidhirlu li ġeneralment għandu jinjorana.

Żmien ilu Alternattiva Demokratika kienet għamlet l-istess talba fil-konfront tal-istazzjonijiet l-oħra  tat-TV. L-Awtorita tax-Xandir dakinnhar kienet ħarġet direttiva dwar dak li għandhom jagħmlu l-istazzjonijiet tat-TV inkluż dawk politiċi.

Fil-fatt nhar is-6 ta’ Frar 2012 l-Awtorita’ tax-Xandir kienet iddeċidiet dwar ilment imressaq minn Alternattiva Demokratika billi :

  1. Ikkonkludiet li waqt kampanja elettorali, wara li jkun ħareġ ir-writ,  ta’ l-inqas darba fil-ġimgħa fuq NET TV u ONE TV  fi programmi ta’ diskussjoni li fihom ikun hemm rappreżentanti ta’ partiti oħra għandu jkun mistieden rappreżentant ta’ AD u
  2. L-istazzjonijiet l-oħra kollha għandhom jistiednu rappreżentant ta’ AD kull meta jiddiskutu temi ta’ natura politika jew public policy waqt kampanja elettorali.

Nistennew ħalli naraw kif l-Awtorita’ tax-Xandir ser timplimenta din id-direttiva tagħha fuq in-NET u l-ONE.

Dissett bejn tnejn. Bejn tlieta mnejn safejn?

Broadcasting Authority-Malta

Fil-polemika li għaddejja bħalissa bejn l-Awtorita’ tax-Xandir u l-PBS dwar jekk id-dibattitu għandux ikun bejn tnejn, l-Awtorita’ għal darba oħra qed tinsa li kemm il-PN kif ukoll il-PL għandhom stazzjoni tat-TV kull wieħed li fuqu jistgħu jxandru kemm iridu dibattiti. Għal 24 siegħa sħaħ. Bla waqfien.

L-Awtorita’ tax-Xandir ma tridx tifhem li b’dawn it-tip ta’ deċiżjonijiet irrendew lill-istazzjon tat-TV pubbliku qiesu pjanu stunat, għax il-leħen ta’ Alternattiva Demokratika jirrifjutaw li jħalluħ jinstema.

Tafu għaliex jagħmlu dan? Għax 4 minn 5 membri tal-Awtorita huma nominati mill-partiti politiċi fil-Parlament, tnejn mill-PN u t-tnejn l-oħra mill-Labour. U biex jassigura ruħu l-Prim Ministru jinnomina c-Chairman, il-ħames membru.

Meta taf li l-partiti fil-parlament għandhom stazzjon tat-TV kull wieħed b’dawn it-tip ta’ deċiżjonijiet l-Awtorita’ tax-Xandir qed titqazzet.

Xkupilja għal Lawrence Gonzi

Interessanti l-iżviluppi ta’ l-aħħar sigħat dwar il-kandidati tal-PN għall-elezzjoni ġenerali.

L-aħħar waħda hi l-kandidatura ta’ David Casa li ser jikkontesta fuq d-distrett elettorali li minnu tela’ Franco Debono fl-aħħar elezzjoni ġenerali.

Meta wieħed iqies li Gonzi kontinwament jgħid li għandu l-obbligu li jibqa’ hemm sa’ l-aħħar, inkluż li qed jippjana li jippreżenta l-budget għal Novembru hu inevitabbli l-ħsieb li dawn huma kollha manuvri intenzjonati biex tqanqal ritaljazzjoni ta’ Franco Debono fil-Parlament.

Ħadd ma jaf eżattament x’ser jagħmel Franco meta jiltqa’ l-Parlament f’Ottubru. Kien hemm diversi dikjarazzjonijiet imma l-iktar li jispikkaw fosthom kienu tlieta.

L-ewwel li m’huwiex lest li jappoġġa Gvern li għandu lill-Austin Gatt bħala Ministru.

It-tieni li min qed jagħtih bis-sieq m’għandux jippretendi appoġġ da parti tiegħu.

It-tielet li fi ħsiebu jippreżenta mozzjoni ta’ sfiduċja fil-Ministru tas-Saħħa Joe Cassar.

Kummenti f’dan is-sens hemm kemm trid fil-blog ta’ Franco.

Sadanittant l-Awtorita’ tax-Xandir sejħet laqgħa mal-Partiti Politiċi biex ikun diskuss programm ta’ Xandiriet politiċi għall-elezzjoni ġenerali.

Għad hemm xi ħadd li jaħseb li l-elezzjoni ġenerali m’hiex wara l-bieb?  L-unika ħaġa mhux deċiża hi min ser jieħu t-tort talli tissejjaħ kmieni. Jekk jerfax il-piz Gonzi jew inkella jekk jippruvax ifarfar fuq Franco.