The week ahead | Calamatta Cuschieri
Update 2 | Debono ‘considering’ request to convene Parliament before October
Debono tells PN president his electoral ban is illegal as PN executive is expected to turn down request to have ban lifted on Monday; considering requesting Speaker to convene parliament before October
31 August 2012, 12:00am
Updated at 1:18pm with additional comments by Franco Debono
PN backbencher Franco Debono is considering calling upon the Speaker of the House, Michael Frendo, to ask him to reconvene parliament before October.
Parliament was set to reconvene on 1 October, after a recess of three months.
But breaking the general political lull, Debono this week alleged that government had tried to "buy" his vote on the Carm Mifsud Bonnici and yesterday he also filed a motion in parliament calling for the cessation of the use of heavy fuel oil firing the Delimara power station extension's turbines.
"Parliament can't wait until the summer recess is over to discuss these urgent matters," Debono said. "I am seriously considering the possibility to request the Speaker to reconvene parliament before October."
The Nationalist Party executive will be meeting next Monday 3 September to discuss Franco Debono's request to have his electoral ban lifted, apart from preparing its celebrations for the Independence festivities and the IVF and cohabitation bills.
The meeting will also discuss the current political situation and party candidates for the forthcoming elections. MaltaToday is informed the PN's executive does not intend reversing a decision to ban on Nationalist MP Franco Debono from contesting on the party ticket in the next general elections, after the MP voted in favour of an Opposition motion that prompted the resignation of home affairs minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici back in June 2012.
The move will be a clear sign that the party is looking for a direct confrontation with the maverick MP, who recently said that he is contemplating taking legal action against the party to challenge the decision.
The Nationalist Party issued a condemnation, then followed it up with a the election ban, against Debono and fellow MPs Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando and Jesmond Mugliett for voting against orders by the party whip in Parliament on two separate Opposition motions.
In comments to MaltaToday, Debono said "If the party will really turn down my request, does this mean that the party believes that its decision was taken in total respect of the principles of natural justice?"
He added "if the decision is upheld, the party needs to explain why."
Debono described these decisions as null and said they "blatantly ignore the principles of natural justice". He maintained that the Nationalist Party did not comply with these principles in its decisions to condemn and ban him and the other two MPs.
Today on Friday morning, Debono sent a letter to the PN's executive president [opens PDF] Marthese Portelli in which he reiterated that the party's decisions to condemn and ban him from contesting elections are null and "in breach of the Party's statute."
Debono added that although he was "angered by the unjust decision," he constrained himself from putting the party in bad light "out of loyalty."
The MP also pointed out that the PN statute is in breach of the principles of natural law because "the party cannot be the prosecutor and judge at the same time" and he was not granted the right to defend himself.
Debono also noted that he was not notified that the condemnation was on the executive's agenda, and Debono was unable to attend because he was addressing parliament on his justice and home affairs bill.
"These events seriously damage the party's democratic credentials," Debono told Portelli.
In a clear reference to Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia, whose personal blog has regularly targete the MP for his actions inside the party and the House, Debono urged the PN to "distance itself clearly from persons renowned for spreading hate and carrying out character assassinations."
He added that such persons give an impression, borne out of concrete events, that they have "intimate connections with the leadership of the party or government", the MP - who now dubs the Prime Minister as 'Lawrence DCG Gonzi' in his own personal blog - said.
"The impression of intimacy between the party and these persons is causing great harm to the party, more than it has already done."
In a footnote, the MP noted that he was sending the letter to media himself to avoid having selected parts leaked to media by members of the executive.
This week, the MP also tabled a motion in parliament that calls for the cessation of the use of heavy fuel oil firing the Delimara power station extension's turbines.
Debono's motion comes at a time of general political lull as the prime minister is currently on vacation, but the call to stop the Delimara power station from running on heavy fuel oil strikes right at the heart of the government's current policy on energy. Lawrence Gonzi will be addressing a political meeting in Birzebbugia, one of the localities affected by the Delimara power station, on Sunday at 11am.
In his umpteenth attempt to rattle the Nationalist Party, Debono also claimed he was promised a chauffeur-driven car, a staff of four lawyers and taking control of the Law Commission by falling under the parliamentary committee for the re-codification of laws which he chairs, in return for his vote against the Opposition motion censuring the former justice minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici.
Debono's vote against Mifsud Bonnici triggered a series of events that ultimately led to the resignation of Mifsud Bonnici, followed by that of Malta's former ambassador to the EU Richard Cachia Caruana and the party's condemnation and ban on Debono, Pullicino Orlando and Mugliett.
They offered me the post of parliamentary secretary by another name. But what they couldn't understand was that my actions were nothing personal against Mifsud Bonnici," Debono told MaltaToday.
The Prime Minister vehemently refuted these claims but Debono insisted that the Prime Minister was 'lying' and that he was in possession of a document that proves the concessions he was offered not to vote in favour of the motion that prompted the resignation of minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici.
"The Prime Minister is lying. He is liar. I have a document that proves what I said," Debono said, adding that he was challenging the Prime Minister to face him "in front of everyone".
Jurgen Balzan joined MaltaToday in 2011, specialising in politics, foreig...
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