Abela has excluded ALL politicians as President: not just Gonzi

The Prime Minister had no shortage of perfectly valid, rational arguments to choose from, to justify his answer – like, for instance: ‘Gonzi? For President? Are you out of your freaking MIND?!”

Look: I know that Robert Abela might not exactly be the ‘Albert Einstein of Maltese Prime Ministers’, or anything… but hey, come on! He’s not THAT stupid either, you know…

Certainly, he can’t be half as dumb as Mark Laurence Zammit evidently thought he was: by asking the Prime Minister whether he would seriously consider appointing Lawrence Gonzi – of all people! – as Malta’s next President of the Republic.

I mean: what sort of answer was he even expecting, anyway? “Oh yes, certainly! You see: the Labour government has, since 2013, been implementing what we like to call a ‘moderate, progressive’ agenda. We campaigned in favour of divorce in 2011; we introduced civil rights for gays, including same-sex partnerships; we recently extended IVF legislation to introduce embryo-freezing and gamete donation; and oh look! We’ve only just tabled a whole new Act of Parliament, which would decriminalize the medical termination of a pregnancy – that’s another term for ‘ABORTION’, by the way – for health reasons.

“So, as you can see: it would make eminent sense for us to also appoint, as Malta’s next President, a former Prime Minister who not only ‘disagrees’ with every single aspect of my government’s policy-direction, regarding civil rights… but who actively campaigned against ALL the issues I just mentioned, without exception.

“What better way, then, to pre-emptively sabotage my own government’s entire future agenda… than by appointing someone as overtly conservative as Lawrence Gonzi, to the only public position that would actually enable him to put spokes into all my government’s ‘progressive’ wheels? (And, quite possibly, plunge the entire country into a Constitutional crisis, while he’s at it)?”

Erm… see what I mean? That’s the sort of answer that Robert Abela could only have given, if he were either: a) as sarcastic as I would have been, in his place; or b) the single dumbest human being to have ever trodden upon the face of this planet, since Jim Carrey in ‘Dumb and Dumber’.

But even then: it still only scratches the surface, of why ‘Gonzi-for-President’ is such a spectacularly bizarre idea to begin with.

For let’s face it, folks: you don’t have to be ‘Lawrence Gonzi’ – or even any other Nationalist politician, for that matter – to ‘make life difficult’ for the incumbent government, as President of the Republic.

Just look at the one we have today: President George Vella – a former minister in Abela’s own Cabinet, no less; who was elected on Labour’s same ‘progressive, moderate’ ticket, back in 2013 (and who therefore presumably agreed with all his government’s liberal stances, while he was still part of it himself.)

And yet, what happened? No sooner did the same George Vella become President of the Republic, than he suddenly developed ‘qualms of conscience’ about a legal reform that would permit embryo-freezing, in certain cases (you know: just like his own former government had promised, in its electoral manifesto.)

As a result, he refused to sign the bill into law, for months after it was approved by Parliament; in fact, it had to wait long enough for President Vella to take a convenient ‘holiday abroad’… so that his second-in-command could ratify it instead.

Now: if that’s the sort of ‘Presidential Evil’ – if you’ll excuse the admittedly-ghoulish pun – that Robert Abela has already faced, coming from a former colleague of his… what sort of ‘horrors’ would he be setting himself up for, by appointing someone who has always been so firmly, utterly, and viscerally opposed to his own way of thinking, right from the very start?

After all, we are talking about the same former Prime Minister who not only ‘opposed embryo-freezing’ … but actually named the IVF bill ‘The Embryo Protection Act’: thus precluding any talk of ‘freezing’ embryos, by not just his own government… but every other government that would ever succeed it (at least, until the law was amended last July).

This was not the first time, incidentally, that Gonzi had tried to bind even future governments to his own will. In 2005/6, he spearheaded an entire campaign to entrench Malta’s abortion laws into the Constitution: with the declared aim of making it as difficult as possible, for Parliament to ever even discuss the issue at all…

Now: had Gonzi been successful, back in 2006 – in other words, had he not belatedly discovered that: a) there is such a thing as a ‘pro-choice minority’ in this country, after all; a), it’s not as ‘microscopic’ as he had previously assumed, and; c) most of those ‘pro-choice liberals’ were actually PN voters, all along…

Well: neither Robert Abela, nor any other Maltese prime minister, would have been able to even discuss those abortion amendments, that were tabled this week… still less, to finally amend Malta’s abortion laws, so as to prevent fiascos like the Andrea Prudente case from ever recurring in future...

So you can just imagine, then, the sort of tricks Lawrence Gonzi would once again get himself up to… if Robert Abela makes the shockingly naïve mistake of appointing him as Malta’s next President (and in so doing, handing him a ‘detonator’ with which to simply blow up his own political agenda, at any time he likes).

But still: even though the Prime Minister had no shortage of perfectly valid, rational arguments to choose from, to justify his answer – like, for instance: ‘Gonzi? For President? Are you out of your freaking MIND?!”…

… let’s just say that the one he chose, causes me to doubt even my own previous assessment of his mental faculties. Here’s what he actually said in that interview:

“[Gonzi is] definitely not a person who would unite the country. […] A president needs to unite the nation. A leader of a political party can never unite a nation, just like Eddie Fenech Adami couldn’t be a uniting figure…”

Oh, dear…

Right: let’s start with the positive. Abela is certainly not wrong to say that ‘no former leader of a political party can ever unite the nation’. This would be true, even of any ‘former Prime Ministers’ that may arise in future – including, as I am sure he is aware, Robert Abela himself.

But it becomes even more conspicuously self-evident, when you consider that – minus Lawrence Gonzi, of course; and Eddie Fenech Adami, who has already been President before; not to mention Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, who has just left us to join Dom Mintoff in the Great [Former Prime Minister’s] Gig-in-the-Sky. RIP… – well, that leaves us with only one ‘former PM’ actually left in the running: Joseph Muscat

And let’s be honest: we didn’t really need Robert Abela to tell us, did we, that Muscat would not exactly be the most ideal of choices, to occupy a position that is supposed to ‘unite the nation’?

But then again: what other Maltese politician CAN possibly perform such an unlikely feat… regardless whether or not they were ever ‘leaders of their political party’?

To put that another way: if Robert Abela is going to preclude Lawrence Gonzi, simply because he’s ‘too divisive’ … wouldn’t that apply just as much to every other politician who has ever militated, at any level whatsoever, in either of the two main political parties?

Take Evarist Bartolo, for instance (and I mention him only because he has often been cited, as a more ‘plausible’ contender than Lawrence Gonzi). Admittedly, Bartolo has not – to the best of my knowledge, anyway – been embroiled in any of the scandals that rocked either the Muscat, nor even the Robert Abela administration, in recent years. (This is, indeed, probably the very reason why his name crops up so often, in this particular discussion).

But… does that mean that Evarist Bartolo is not himself ‘divisive’, as a political figure? Does it mean that he will somehow be miraculously capable of ‘uniting the country’ (even though, oddly enough, Bartolo was the one who actually called for the boycott of another President – Censu Tabone – way back in the 1990s?)

Come on, let’s not all be as naïve, as the question that sparked this entire discussion off to begin with. Neither Evarist Bartolo, nor any other (past or present) politician from either party, will ever be able to fully put their own political past behind them, to effectively become ‘unifying figures for the country’.

No, not even if it was their own genuine intention to do so – as I don’t deny it often is – and not even if they end up actually perishing in the attempt.

And I’m still only talking about Evarist Bartolo, by the way. The prospect of ‘national unity’ only becomes bleaker still, when you also consider that – for all we actually know – Robert Abela may just as easily end up appointing someone like, say, Ian Borg instead…

But still: at least, it’s something we don’t really have to worry about anymore, do we? Because… erm… what Robert Abela has just done, is effectively preclude ALL Maltese politicians – and not just former Prime Ministers like Lawrence Gonzi – from becoming the next President of the Republic.

No, indeed: following Robert Abela’s own logic to its only natural conclusion… his only remaining option is to appoint someone from OUTSIDE the political circuit, to that role.

And granted: it might still not be enough to ‘unify our divided nation’… or even come remotely close, for that matter… but hey! It can’t exactly divide the country any more than it’s already divided, can it now?

And, well, that’s already a lot more than we can say, for virtually any other ‘political’ choice.