It is pretty obvious that the primary – and possibly the only – objective that the Nationalist Party seeks to attain through its proposed “coalition” is to numerically surpass the Labour Party when the first count votes are tallied after the forthcoming general election. Should this materialise, it could be a stepping stone on the basis of which, possibly, it could return to office on its own or in coalition.
The rest, that is to say beyond the first count vote tally, is all a necessary evil for the PN.
In contrast, Alternattiva Demokratika’s objectives go beyond arithmetic. Alternattiva Demokratika favours a principle-based coalition, ethically driven, in conscious preference to a pragmatic-based one that is driven exclusively by arithmetic considerations.
A principle-based coalition asks questions and demands answers continuously. The path to be followed to elect the first Green MPs is just as important as the objective itself. This is not simply a minor inconsequential detail: it is a fundamental difference in approach.
Alternattiva Demokratika is continuously being tempted to discard its principled approach on the basis of a possible satisfactory result being within reach: now is the time, we are told, to join Simon Busuttil’s coalition in the national interest.
Alternattiva Demokratika has always given way to the national interest. It is definitely in the national interest to discard (at the earliest possible opportunity) the two-party system that is the cause of the current political mess. In this context, at AD we do not view the PN (or the PL for that matter) as a solution. Both are an intrinsic part of the problem. Even if they are not exactly equivalent, together they are the problem. Parliament has been under the control of the two-party system without interruption for the past 52 years. This is ultimately responsible for the current state of affairs as, due to its composition, Parliament has been repeatedly unable to hold the government of the day to account.
It is the worst kind of political dishonesty to pretend that the PN is whiter than white when criticising the Labour Party’s gross excesses during the past four years. Labour has been capable of creating the current mess because the last PN-led government left behind quasi-toothless institutions, such that, when push came to shove, these institutions were incapable of biting back against abuse in defence of Maltese society: so much for the PN’s commitment to good governance.
The PN is also still haunted by its own gross excesses including:
1) Claudio Grech’s incredible declaration on the witness stand in Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that he did not recollect ever meeting George Farrugia during the development of the oil sales scandal, George Farrugia being the mastermind behind it all.
2) Beppe Fenech Adami’s role in the nominee company behind the Capital One Investment Group/Baltimore Fiduciary Services . In quasi similar circumstances, former Labour Party Treasurer Joe Cordina was forced to resign and was withdrawn as a general election candidate.
3) Mario DeMarco’s error of judgement (with Simon Busuttil’s blessing) in accepting the brief of Silvio Debono’s db Group in relation to the provision of advisory legal services on the Group’s acquisition from Government of land at Pembroke, currently the site of the Institute for Tourism Studies, and this when his duty a Member of Parliament was to subject the deal to the minutest scrutiny and thereby hold government to account.
4) Toni Bezzina’s application for a proposed ODZ Villa at the same time that, together with others, he was drafting an environment policy document on behalf of the PN in which document he proposed that this should henceforth be prohibited.
5) Simon Busuttil’s alleged attempt to camouflage political donations as payment for fictitious services by his party’s commercial arm, thereby circumventing the Financing of Political Parties Act.
How can the Nationalist Party be credible by declaring itself as the rallying point in favour of good governance and against corruption when it took no serious action to clean up its own ranks? Apologies are a good start but certainly not enough: heads must roll.
A coalition with a PN that closes more than one eye to the above is bound to fail, as the behaviour of the PN and its leadership is clearly and consistently diametrically opposed to its sanctimonious declarations.
These are very serious matters: they need to be suitably and satisfactorily addressed as a pre-condition to the commencement of any coalition talks. Time is running out and this is being stated even before one proceeds to identify and spell out the red lines – ie the issues that are non-negotiable.
Addressing the arithmetic issues concerning the general election and then ending up with a “new” government with such an ambivalent attitude to good governance would mean that we are back to the point from which we started. Nobody in his right mind would want that and Alternattiva Demokratika would certainly not support such double speak.
published in The Malta Independent on Sunday – 16 April 2017