TimesTalk u l-Koalizzjoni

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TimesTalk nhar it-Tlieta li għaddew reġa’ qajjem mill-mewt l-idea ta’ koalizzjoni  f’Malta billi lejn l-aħħar tal-programm staqsa lill-Kap tal-Opposizzjoni jekk jeskludix (fil-futur) koalizzjoni ma’ Alternattiva Demokratika.

Simon Busuttil, ġustament, wieġeb li ma jeskludix.

Dal-għodu Arnold Cassola ikkummenta mat-Times li dan hu kollu ħolm (pie in the sky) ! U hekk hu.

Għad baqa’ tlett snin sal-elezzjoni ġenerali u sa dakinnhar min jaf kemm jinbidlu affarijiet. Kemm għad isiru kalkoli u paroli.

Jekk għadx ikun hemm min ikun imħajjar jikkunsidra koalizzjoni jiddependi minn kif ser tittrasforma ruħha l-politika Maltija minn issa sa tlett snin oħra. Tista’ tinbidel ftit jew inkella ħafna, u tista’ tibqa’ kif inhi! Ilkoll nafu li kif qal darba Harold Wilson, Prim Ministru u Kap tal-Partit Laburista Ingliz: fil-politika anke ġimgħa hu żmien twil ħafna. Aħseb u ara tlett snin!

Mela meta tiġi naraw.  Din ukoll kienet is-sustanza tal-kummenti tal-Professur Henry Frendo lit-Times dal-għodu.

Sadanittant nibqgħu iffukati fuq il-11 t’April. L-elezzjonijiet tal-Kunsilli Lokali u l-ewwel referendum abrogattiv biex tispiċċa darba għal dejjem il-kaċċa fir-rebbiegħa.

 

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For those who can think: food for thought

Chamber of Commerce and Industry 1

Helga Ellul, retiring Brandstatter CEO in Malta  was interviewed by the Sunday Times on December 23, 2012. The last part of the interview was as follows:

How did the uncertainty on the election and the slim majority in Parliament impact business?

The problem is that in Malta with just two political parties it is always a close run and this makes it very difficult for whoever wins to govern.

Whereas in other countries we have more parties and coalition governments and different constellations, in Malta it is so close knit that if it is not a clear majority than it will be very difficult to govern.

The perception is that coalition governments will bring more instability.

In Germany we do have that (instability) but it is not all negative because a party has to come out with a proper programme and then change according to the coalition, which may not be the worst of it. Coalitions would encourage parties to look at the overall picture and adjust accordingly.

Linking energy and democracy

 
The Times Logo
Saturday, June 18, 2011 ,
by

Carmel Cacopardo

 

Last weekend, Italian voters said no to nuclear energy for the second time since the Chernobyl nuclear disaster 25 years ago.

Italy is not alone in refusing to handle nuclear energy. The Fukushima incidents have driven home the point that, even in a country that is very strict on safety standards, nuclear energy is not safe. Fukushima has proven that no amount of safeguards can render nuclear energy 100 per cent safe. Though accidents are bound to happen irrespective of the technology used, the risks associated with nuclear technology are such that they can easily wipe out life from the affected area in a very short time.

Last weekend’s no has a particular significance for Malta as this means an end to plans for the construction of a nuclear power plant at Palma di Montechiaro on Sicily’s southern coast, less than 100 kilometres from the Maltese islands.

Germany’s Christian Democrat/Liberal coalition government, faced with the resounding victory of the Greens in the Länd of Baden-Württemberg, has made a policy U-turn. As a direct effect of the Greens-led opposition to Germany’s nuclear programme, Germany will be nuclear-energy free as from 2022, by which date all existing nuclear power installations will be phased out. In doing so, the Merkel government has, once and for all, accepted the Green-Red coalition agreement on a complete nuclear phaseout.

Even Switzerland is planning not to make use of its existing nuclear plants beyond their scheduled projected life. The Swiss government will be submitting to Parliament a proposal not to replace existing nuclear plants. The process is scheduled to commence in 2019 and will conclude with the closure of the last Swiss nuclear reactor in 2034.

After the Tunisian revolution, Abdelkader Zitouni, the leader of Tunisie Verte, the Tunisian Green party, has called on Tunisia’s transitional government to repudiate the Franco-Tunisian agreement for the provision of nuclear technology by France. Hopefully, the same will happen when the Administration of Libya is back to normal.

There are other Mediterranean neighbours that are interested in the construction of nuclear plants. Libya and Tunisia were joined by Algeria, Morocco and Egypt in reacting positively to Nicolas Sarkozy, the peripatetic nuclear salesman during the past four years.

Malta could do without nuclear energy installations on its doorstep. Italy’s decision and the policy being advocated by Mr Zitouni are a welcome start. It would be wishful thinking to imagine Foreign Minister Tonio Borg taking the initiative in campaigning for a Mediterranean free of nuclear energy even though this is in Malta’s interest.

It is a very healthy sign that Malta’s neighbours together with Germany and Switzerland are repudiating the use of nuclear energy. Their no to nuclear energy is simultaneously a yes to renewable energy. This will necessarily lead to more efforts, research and investment in renewable energy generation as it is the only reasonable way to make up for the shortfall between energy supply and demand.

A case in point is the Desertec project, which is still in its infancy. The Desertec initiative is based on the basic fact that six hours of solar energy incident on the world’s deserts exceeds the amount of energy used all over the globe in one whole year. Given that more than 90 per cent of the world’s population lives within 3,000 kilometres of a desert, the Desertec initiative considers that most of the world’s energy needs can be economically met through tapping the solar energy that can be captured from the surface of the deserts.

The technology is available and has been extensively tested in the Mojave Desert, California, in Alvarado (Badajoz), Spain and in the Negev Desert in Israel where new plants generating solar energy on a large scale have been in operation for some time. The Desertec project envisages that Europe’s energy needs can be met through tapping the solar energy incident on the Sahara desert. The problems that have to be surmounted are of a technical and of a geopolitical nature.

On the technical front, solutions are being developed to address more efficient storage and the efficient transmission of the electricity generated.

The Arab Spring in Tunisia and Egypt and, hopefully, the successful conclusion of the Libyan revolution will address the other major concern: that of energy security. The movement towards democracy in North Africa can contribute towards the early success of the Desertec project in tapping solar energy in the Sahara desert for use in both Northern Africa and in Europe.

While Malta stands to gain economically and environmentally through the realisation of such a project, I have yet to hear the government’s enthusiasm and commitment even if the project is still in its initial stages.

Malta is committed in favour of the pro-democracy movements in Egypt, Tunisia and Benghazi. Being surrounded by democratic neighbours is a definitely positive geopolitical development. If properly nurtured, this would enhance Malta’s economic development, energy security and environmental protection concerns.

A Go at Coalition Government

Voters in the UK have elected Caroline Lucas as their first Green MP from the constituency of Brighton Pavilion. They have also discovered coalition government, thereby joining the great majority of European states. Malta, as usual, is one of the exceptions.

Many had hoped for a Lib-Lab coalition in the UK. The arithmetic, however, was not there. More importantly, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg underlined that the political party that had obtained the largest support should have the first go at forming a coalition. This led to the gradual unfolding of history before TV cameras. Negotiations between Conservative and Lib-Dem negotiating teams produced a coalition document that listed the programme of action of a coalition supported by 59 per cent of the UK electorate. Rarely has a UK government enjoyed such support.

The coalition policy document, as “normally” happens, is an exercise in “give and take”. It did include five senior Cabinet posts to the junior party, representatives in every ministry, agreement on policy overlaps, discarding for the current legislature a number of objectionable policies and, in particular, a softening of the conservative Eurosceptic stance as well as a possible nod to changes in the electoral system.

In Malta, we tend to associate coalition government with the Italian way of doing politics. In so doing we ignore the rest of Europe. Germany, France, Finland, Belgium, Holland, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Czech Republic are some of the European countries now governed by a coalition in addition to Italy. Even San Marino, a micro-state, is run by a coalition government.

The UK coalition has come about as a direct result of the May 6 election in which the electors deserted the Labour Party in government but did not flock in sufficient numbers to the Conservative opposition. As is normal with the first-past-the-post electoral system it did not return a “fair” result in that the third party, the Liberal Democrats, with 23 per cent electoral support obtained only about nine per cent of House of Commons seats.

Now proportionality is not a feature of the UK electoral system. In fact, it is designed specifically to encourage a two-party Parliament and tends to squeeze out the third parties. The Liberal Democrats’ relative strength in the May 6 elections has come about as a result of the failure of the major parties to garner support and not as a result of the votes it has obtained. In fact, while the Liberal Democrats have marginally increased their voting share, yet, they have decreased their MP uptake by five!

The first-past-the-post voting system has a number of peculiar features. If a large number of candidates present themselves for election in a particular constituency, votes are split and the elected candidate is possibly one who has obtained a small fraction of votes. For example, George Galloway, who was expelled from the Labour Party, in the 2005 election to the House of Commons, was elected on behalf of the Respect Party after obtaining just 18.4 per cent of the votes in his constituency.

The system also encourages tactical voting, that is voting not in favour of the candidate that you support but against the candidate most disliked. A number of seats tend to be determined by a handful of votes. For example, Glenda Jackson has been re-elected as a Labour MP with a majority of just 43 votes in her constituency!

Within this context, important proposals for reforming the electoral system have been made: the Conservatives want the size of constituencies to be adjusted such that large disparities in size are eliminated. The Liberals want a proportional system while Labour have put forward an alternative vote proposal, which essentially entails that for an MP to be elected s/he has to obtain the support of at least 50 per cent of his constituents through a multi-preference vote. The coalition has compromised on this alternative vote proposal and has agreed to present such a system to a referendum.

This is the first serious attempt at coalition building in the UK since the formation of the 1939-45 national government during World War II. The politics of confrontation has, at last, been challenged thereby paving the way for one primarily based on consensus. Whether it will last is another story altogether.

In Malta, we are awaiting electoral reform too. That will happen when the Nationalist and the Labour parties decide that the electoral rules need to be fair and not designed specifically to keep third parties out. This unfairness seems to be one of the few things the PN and PL agree upon.

Alternattiva Demokratika awaits the new Speaker to act, accelerating the process begun by his predecessor. He needs to prod MPs from both sides to live up to their self-proclaimed democratic credentials.

published in The Times of Malta, Saturday May 22, 2010

The UK discovers coalition government !

The UK electorate has instructed that power be shared as none of the political parties has been entrusted with a Parliamentary majority.

At the time of writing various possibilities are on the table.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg rightly emphasised that the party with the largest Parliamentary group should have the first go at forming a government. In doing so he reiterated the position taken during the electoral campaign. Full marks for consistency.

Immediately Conservative leader David Cameron started the ball rolling to identify the areas and methods in which cooperation between the Tories and the Liberal Democrats could proceed.

There are various areas of  positive overlap, including education and , fiscal policy. But there are also various areas of contrast namely the need to reform the electoral system and introduce proportional representation, relations with the European Union, and immigration, to name a few.

In brief the arithmetic for a Tory Liberal coalition is there but I doubt whether the political foundations to justify such a coalition exists.

On the other hand there exists the political justification for a progressive coalition which would include Labour and the Liberal Democrats supported by other small parties. But the numbers are not there, or just.

In the meantime later today the negotiations kick off.

The UK has joined the rest of Europe in exploring coalition government.

As usual Malta will be the last country to catch the bus.

Gonzi progress on Coalition Government

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In an interview published in The Malta Independent today, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi gave the following reply : 

“Question : You have ruled out the possibility of forming any sort of a post-electoral coalition, would you stand by that even if it meant the PN in opposition?

Answer : There are all these hypotheses. What I say is let’s wait for the results on 8 March. I hope the results will give us a stable, clear political situation. People must be reminded that if we have a third party that sees a candidate elected to Parliament, the Constitution guarantees that whoever has the largest number of seats, even though with a minority of votes, would govern this country.As such, a coalition could be created in such a way that would provide a majority of seats but not a majority of votes – that would be a disaster for the country. It would create instability and all the economic repercussions that that brings about.I am hoping the electorate will realise this and vote in favour of my party, because I believe we have come up with policies of real substance, policies that have already given us good results and which are proposing even better results for the future.

I must emphasise my position on this coalition issue.

First of all, I respect the decision and position taken by Alternattiva Demokratika and the other parties. It is their right to propose alternatives, I listen carefully to them and I have listened carefully for the past four years so this must not be taken as a criticism on my part at all.

But it can’t be that I am facing a party that has been hitting us hard for the last year four years and then, three weeks before an election, suddenly turns around and tells me ‘let’s set up a coalition’.

That does not sound quite right, so I need to be convinced.”   

Although there are some inaccuracies in Dr Gonzi’s reply, that’s some progress. Lawrence Gonzi needs to be convinced after the 8 March results. Sounds reasonable to me !

Koalizzjoni = Gvern ta’ Kulħadd u għal Kulħadd

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L-Alternattiva Demokratika ma ivvintatx il-kelma koalizzjoni. Iżda għamlet użu minnha f’din il-kampanja elettorali biex twassal messaġġ politiku qawwi. Messaġġ li wasal u li qiegħed jinftiehem.

Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni jfisser Gvern magħmul minn iktar minn Partit wieħed. Gvern allura li għandu viżjoni politika iktar wiesa’ minn dik tal-Gvernijiet li bħala pajjiż aħna mdorrijin bihom.

Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni jkollu politika li tagħti każ tal-aspirazzjonijiet ta’ kulħadd mill-perspettiva tal-partiti politiċi li jiffurmaw il-koalizzjoni. Huwa Gvern li ma jarmi lil ħadd għax kulħadd huwa validu, kulħadd għandu kontribut. Il-kontribut ta’ kulħadd huwa apprezzat.

Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni ma jarmix nofs il-popolazzjoni biex jaqdi parti min-nofs l-ieħor. Iżda jservi lill-popolazzjoni kollha. Biex jagħti dan is-servizz jagħmel użu mit-talenti ta’ kulħadd. Kulħadd jista’ jagħti kontribut biex dan il-pajjiż jimxi l-quddiem. Mhux biss dawk li jivvutaw lill-partiti li jiffurmaw il-koalizzjoni.     

Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni huwa l-unika garanzija li dan il-pajjiż jista’ jkollu li l-vendikazzjonijiet u d-diskriminazzjoni politika ma jibqawx għodda ta’ amministrazzjoni politika f’dan il-pajjiż.

Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni jfisser li l-ebda partit politiku waħdu ma jkollu iktar il-poter assolut f’dan il-pajjiż. Il-poter assolut jikkorrompi l-istituzzjonijiet u jirrendihom servi ta’ partit u mhux iktar tal-pajjiż.

  

Hawn min qiegħed ixerred il-biża’ kontra l-idea ta’ Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni. Fir-realta’ biża kbira qed issaltan fost dawk li bi Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni ma jkunx iktar possibli għalihom li jibqgħu jiġbdu l-ispag u b’hekk imexxu l-pajjiż minn wara l-kwinti.

  

Il-pedamenti tal-ħidma politika ta’ Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni huwa għalhekk li jkollna Gvern miftuħ (open government), trasparenti u li jagħti kont ta’ egħmilu il-ħin kollu, kull jum tal-eżistenza tiegħu. Fost il-miżuri basiċi li l-Alternattiva qed tipproponi hemm liġi dwar il-finanzjament tal-partiti, li jiġi stabilit darba għal dejjem id-dritt tal-informazzjoni kif ukoll li tingħata l-protezzjoni (permezz ta’ Whistleblower Act) lil min jikxef il-ħmieġ u l-irregolaritajiet fl-amministrazzjoni pubblika.

  

Dawn huma l-pedamenti ta’ Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni li ser ikollna fi ftit jiem oħra. Gvern li jkun ta’ kulħadd u li jservi lil kulħadd.  

Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni

 

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Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni jfisser Gvern flimkien bejn żewg partiti politiċi differenti jew iktar. Partiti li fil-waqt li ma jaqblux f’kollox kapaċi jidentifikaw dawk l-oqsma li jistgħu jindirizzaw flimkien għall-ġid tal-pajjiż. 

Ilu ma jkollna Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni f’pajjiżna sa minn qabel ma twelidt jien. B’daqshekk ma jfissirx li dan m’huwiex possibli li jsir. Ifisser biss li sal-lum ghal iktar minn ħamsin sena kellna Gvernijiet ta’ partit wieħed li mexxew waħedhom. 

Kellna Gvernijiet li jikkuntrastaw, wieħed wara l-ieħor. Gvern favur is-sħubija mal-Unjoni Ewropea kien segwit b’ieħor li kien kontra s-sħubija u ffriża l-applikazzjoni. Biex ftit wara reġgħet inqalbet il-folja. Jista’ jibqa’ jkollna gvernijiet li jikkuntrastaw bil-goff b’dan il-mod ? B’politika li titbandal minn favur għal kontra u lura ?   Għandna bżonn li f’pajjiżna nxettlu politika ta’ kunsens. Politika li dwar materji fundamentali  tista’ twassal lill-partiti fi qbil kif ġja sar fuq il-leġislazzjoni finanzjarja tul is-snin.   

Bl-Alternattiva Demokratika bħala parti minn Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni ġimgħatejn oħra jfisser illi jkollna Gvern li jaħdem biex jagħmel suċċess mis-sħubija ta’ Malta fl-Unjoni Ewropea. Ifisser ukoll illi jkollna Gvern li mhux biss jitkellem favur l-ambjent iżda jaħdem il-ħin kollu b’mod li jtejjeb il-kwalita’ tal-ħajja tagħna lkoll.  

Fuq kollox Gvern ta’ Koalizzjoni jfisser illi għall-ħames snin li ġejjin ma jkollniex partit politiku li għandu poter assolut. Għax il-poter ikun f’idejn żewġ partiti, t-tnejn għassiesa li ħadd ma jabbuża.

L-iskandlu tal-kirjiet ikkontrollati

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Il-bieraħ ħadt sehem f’konferenza stampa tal-AD dwar ir-riforma meħtieġa fil-liġijiet tal-kera. Riforma li iha fuq l-ixkaffa għal dawn l-aħħar 63 sena.

Il-liġijiet tal-kera kif inhuma jitfgħu l-piż fuq is-sidien tal-propjeta’. L-effett huwa li qed tingħata protezzjoni lil kull min jokkupa post b’titlu ta’ kera irrispettivament jekk għandux bżonn din il-protezzjoni jew le. Huwa fatt magħruf li fil-pajjiż hawn bosta sinjuruni li qed jokkupaw propjeta b’titlu ta’ kera u jħallsu kera miżerabbli għal dan l-iskop. Il-protezzjoni għandha tingħata lil min verament għandu bżonn biss. Għandu iżda jkun l-istat permezz tal-Awtorita’ tad-Djar li jagħti din il-protezzjoni. Is-sitwazzjoni attwali hi li huma s-sidein li qed jissussidjaw kemm il-housing soċjali kif ukoll ir-residenti ta’ xi sinjuruni permezz tal-kirjiet ikkontrollati.
 
Alternattiva Demokratika fil-Parlament bħala parti
minn Gvern ta’ koalizzjoni tassigura li jsiru l-emendi neċessarji għall-liġijiet tal-kera. Mhux biss biex tingħata l-għajnina lil min verament għandu bżonn iżda ukoll biex b’hekk ikun jista’ jerġa’ jinħoloq is-suq tal-kera u jkun possibli li jerġgħu jidħlu gradwalment fis-suq it-53,000 dar vojta. Fl-aħħar ikun possibli li jibda jonqos il-bini bla waqfien kif ukoll it-twaqqiegħ u l-bini mill-ġdid ta’ propjeta’ f’kull rokna ta’ Malta.
(ara stqarrija AD fuq http://www.alternattiva.org.mt/page.asp?n=newsdetails&i=11074 )

Tbissima

 

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Bilfors titbissem meta taqra dak li qiegħed jinkiteb u jingħad dwar il-Koalizzjoni.

 

In-nies fil-kwiet ta’ djarhom qed jaqraw u jisimgħu dak li qiegħed jingħad. Fiż-żjarat li qed nagħmel fid-djar qed tirriżulta realta oħra .

In-nies hi konxja iktar minn qatt qabel li l-presenza tat-tielet Partit fil-Parlament hi essenzjali bħala għodda ta’ kontabilita.