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Busuttil pledges propositional referenda, launches online ‘ideas’ platform

Simon Busuttil's proposal will allow 10% of the electorate to invoke a referendum on whether a specific law should be introduced 

tim_diacono
Tim Diacono
10 May 2017, 10:16pm
Ivan Bartolo presents the new 'ideas' online platform to Simon Busuttil
Ivan Bartolo presents the new 'ideas' online platform to Simon Busuttil
PN leader Simon Busuttil has said he will propose the introduction of propositional referenda, which will allow people to invoke a referendum on whether a particular law should be introduced.

Maltese law currently caters for abrogative referenda, which allows 10% of the electorate to invoke a referendum on whether to delete or retain a specific law.

It was successfully invoked only once –when the Coalition for the Abolition of Spring Hunting collected 41,494 valid signatures to force a referendum to ban spring hunting, which the electorate narrowly rejected.

“Just as people can currently collect signatures to force an abrogative referendum, we think they should also be allowed to do the same to force a propositional referendum,” he said.

Busuttil made his announcement while launching the PN’s innovative new online platform that allows people to react to the party’s policy proposals and propose new ideas to be opened for public discussion. 

The PN's new online platform allows citizens to submit their policy ideas for public discussion
The PN's new online platform allows citizens to submit their policy ideas for public discussion
Busuttil said that the platform will allow citizens to grow closer to the party and that it will remain open if the PN wins the election.

“As it stands, people make political decisions once every five years but then let other people decide for them in between,” he said. “The point of this platform is for people to continuously propose ideas, react to ideas and vote on ideas. The party must be open to all ideas.”

The online platform was presented to Busuttil by Ivan Bartolo, PN candidate and founder of software company 6PM. Also present for the launch were former KSU president Becky Micallef and Malta IT Law Association President Antonio Ghio.

Ghio noted that similar online platforms for direct democracy are popular in Estonia and Iceland, and that it had peaked in popularity in Iceland when its Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson was implicated in the Panama Papers scandal and eventually resigned.