Think tank disassociates itself from former chair after voting confession

The new board of the Today think tank sought to disassociate itself from former chairman Martin Scicluna after a highly suggestive voting confession

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Matthew Vella
1 June 2017, 4:07pm
The wrong kind of honesty: Martin Scicluna (Photo by Ray Attard)
The wrong kind of honesty: Martin Scicluna (Photo by Ray Attard)
The new board of directors of the Today Public Policy Institute has made a public stand by disassociating itself from a newspaper column penned by its former chairperson, Martin Scicluna.

Scicluna, a military advisor who served previous Nationalist administrations and was until recently the chairperson of the National Commission for Further and Higher Education, appears to have rankled the TPPI by penning an opinion in The Times saying had had cast his early vote for a party that was probably not the Nationalist Party.

“The choice is between an untested, weak if likeable leader of the Opposition. And a flawed, but experienced, more politically savvy incumbent Prime Minister… Busuttil or Muscat? Both PL and PN have let Malta down. I would be sorely tempted to write ‘none of the above’ on the ballot paper,” Scicluna wrote.

He then said that while he considered voting Green, he concluded: “I am attracted to Alternattiva Demokratika whose election strapline puts the ideal perfectly: Vote Green. Vote Clean. But I have already voted in the fifth district and I know who got my vote there. It was a matter of Hobson’s Choice.”

In the past Scicluna, under whose helm the TPPI authored various important policy papers, has been an open critic of both the Labour government and the Nationalist Party.

But in a statement, the TPPI said it was no longer associated with Scicluna “and does not share his sentiments or his logic in reaching his voting conclusion.”

The new board underwent a recent restructuring, taking on board former MITTS director Joseph V. Tabone as director-general, and among its fellows now includes public policy expert David Spiteri Gingell, former Central Bank governor Michael C. Bonello, columnist and former MEPA environment director Petra Caruana Dingli, former Sedqa chief executive Sina Bugeja, and academic and former PBS chairman Claire Vassallo.

“While acknowledging and cherishing the universal entitlement of freedom of expression in any democracy, the board of directors of the Today Public Policy Institute would like to state unequivocally that the author of this column is no longer associated with TPPI and that the Institute neither shares the writer’s sentiments or reflections on the electoral options nor his logic in reaching his voting conclusion," the group said. 

The TPPI said it was an “impartial and non-partisan” think tank which stood for good governance and the rule of law at all times.

The think tank’s most recent paper is titled “National Strategic Policy Challenges – A Need for Cross-Party Collaboration”, which makes the case for all political parties to work together in addressing complex and intractable policy issues.

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Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.