MaltaToday survey | 64% of young Gozitans say you need a political saint for jobs, permits and contracts

Younger respondents are more likely to think favouritism is rife in Gozo and that under Labour it has become easier to seek the help of politicians for contracts, permits and jobs

james
James Debono
24 January 2017, 7:30am
Let me help you: Labour minister Anton Refalo, and his Nationalist predecessor, Giovanna Debono
Let me help you: Labour minister Anton Refalo, and his Nationalist predecessor, Giovanna Debono
MaltaToday Survey | Clientelism in Gozo • 22 January 2017
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An appreciable 52% majority of people in Gozo have told MaltaToday that they believe that contracts, permits and government jobs on the sister island are more likely to be awarded on the basis of political favouritism than on merit.

And only 20% think that these are more likely to be awarded according to merit, while 51% think that help from politicians is “very important” or “important” in finding a job.

This emerges from a survey carried out by MaltaToday among 600 Gozitan respondents between 9 and 13 January.

The opinion that contracts, permits and government jobs are awarded on the basis of political favouritism is stronger among the younger 18-to-34 age group, 64% of whom think that this is the case.

The survey also indicates that only 22% of respondents think that it has become difficult to find the help of politicians in matters like the award of contracts, permits and government jobs since the election of the Labour government. 

25% believe that it has become easier to get the assistance of politicians in such matters, while 13% believe that everything has remained the same. Younger respondents are more likely to believe that it has become easier to find help of politicians in such matters.

The survey, held two years after Anthony Debono, husband of former Gozo minister Giovanna Debono, was arraigned in court in Gozo, where he pleaded not guilty to 13 charges in connection with works for votes allegations, suggests that political favoritism is not a thing of the past.

81% of switchers think favouritism is rife

The survey shows that switchers, respondents who voted PN in 2008 and PL in 2013 are the most likely to believe that contracts, permits and government jobs are not awarded on the basis of merit but through political favouritism. Not surprisingly Labour voters are the least likely to believe this is the case.

The survey shows that 81% of switchers, 67% of PN voters and 34% of Labour voters hold the view that political favouritism is rife in the employment, contracts and permits sectors. 

On the other hand only 13% of PN voters and switchers believe that contracts, permits and government jobs are awarded on the basis of merit. This contrasts with 38% of PL voters who believe that meritocracy is being practised.

The survey also shows that 81% of switchers believe that the help of politicians is important in finding a job. The same opinion is expressed by 68% of PN voters. But only 38% of PL voters share this view.

Not surprisingly while the majority of PL voters think that political favouritism has decreased under the PL government, PN voters express the opposite view. But significantly 23% of PL voters believe that under a Labour government it has become easier to get help from politicians in the award of contracts, permits and government jobs. On the other hand 20% of PN voters acknowledged that it has become more difficult to get help from politicians in such matters. Switchers are the most likely to believe that nothing has changed. 

Perception of favouritism stronger among the young

Surprisingly the survey shows that younger respondents are more likely to think that favouritism is rife in Gozo. They are also more likely to think that under Labour it has become easier to seek the help of politicians in the award of contracts permits and jobs. In fact among this category while only 18% think that it has become more difficult to find political assistance in such matters, 33% believe that this has become easier. It is older respondents above 55 years of age who are more likely to think that under Labour, it is more difficult to seek the intercession of politicians.

And while 64% of under-35-year-olds believe that presently in Gozo contracts, permits and jobs are more likely to be awarded on the basis of political favouritism, only 47% of 35-to-54 year-olds and 52% of over-55s believe this is the case.

Younger respondents are also more likely to believe that help from a politician is “very important” in getting a job.

While 41% of those aged 18-34 believe so, only 29% aged 35-54 and 26% of over-55s share the same view. Only 11% of 18-34 year-olds – compared to 19% among 35 to 54 year-olds – think that help from a politician is not important in finding a job. 

Methodology

The survey was held between Monday 9 and Friday 13, 2017. 909 respondents all hailing from Gozo chosen from the on-line directory were contacted. The survey was stopped when a 600 quota sample of completed questionnaires was reached. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4 points. 

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...