That sixth seat

A vote for the Greens is a vote for a real alternative energy, contrary to positive energy slogans that pay lip-service to equal opportunities for all and to a real change from that political malaise of bickering and blame.

That sixth seat is up for grabs and it’s a real possibility for Alternattiva Demokratika this time around. It was within reach in 2004 with five seats availble and AD’s polling of 23,000 first count votes and 29,000 votes on the final count. It is more within reach today with six seats and a reduced national quota.

Simon Busuttil knows this well enough, and is clamouring for a historical third seat for the PN. A three-three draw between the PL and the PN would suit them well to ensure the status quo, but voters this time can break the 52-year bipartisan mould and elect a new, credible and consistent voice to the European Parliament.

The question to be asked is: "Now that for the first time we shall be voting for 6 MEPs instead of 5, would it be beneficial for our country to vote in either Carmel Cacopardo or Arnold Cassola into the Green Group in the European Parliament? Would Malta benefit from that"?

The Maltese and Gozitan people have now had their representatives in the European Parliament for the last ten years. Nationalist and Labour MEPs have represented our population in the two largest groups in the European Parliament, the European Popular Party and the European Socialists.

An MEP in the Green group would be able to influence another political formation, of over 50 MEPs and would also be able to participate in various committees and decison-making fora, with the alternative vision of a third political force. This is essential in a parliament, unlike the Maltese one, where wide consenus is the name of the game and where majority, winner-takes-all decisions are a no go, because really the very final decisions are the result of a complex processes of multiparty negotiations.

Of course, if one were to listen to Dr Simon Busuttil, this is definitely a no-no. Knowing that it is impossible to regain the 36000 lost votes in the short space of 14 months since the last general election, Dr Busuttil seems to have made it his sacred mission to ensure that the Nationalists get the new sixth seat to increase their tally to 3 seats, at par with the Labour Party.

Does it make sense from a political point of view? Would the country fare better if the present fourth seat, which PL looks bound to lose, is taken by the Nationalists? Would it make such a difference to have a third PN MEP in the EPP group to convince the 200 odd members of the EPP Group on so many issues?

What about the possibility of having a third party influencing another different political configuration? The sixth seat can mean a politically pluralistic Malta, having a new voice with which to influence on European matters.

That sixth seat can be possible if the Green wave we are currently witnessing keeps on growing until the last moments of the campaign. This means that we have to continue exhorting not only first-preference votes, but also other preferences which can keep us in the race. One cannot stress enough, once again, the tremendous importance of cross-voting, and this election is the chance to practise this democratic right.

Apart from the crucial critical mass of No 1 preference votes needed, all other votes, from the 2nd till the 32nd, are all valid and useful to elect an AD representative to that sixth seat. You might agree with us on many issues and you would want to see a more plural Maltese participation in the EP: even if your prefer other candidates and parties first, you can still vote for the Greens in any fashion you want on the ballot sheet.

A vote for the Greens? A vote truly for a better Malta within a better Europe, with a vision towards sustainability and greater rights. A vote towards a greater representation of all Maltese. A vote for energy: a real alternative energy, contrary to positive energy slogans that pay lip-service to equal opportunities for all and to a real change from that political malaise of bickering and blame.

That sixth seat can truly be within our reach, within your reach.  Let’s go for it.

Arnold Cassola is European Parliament candidate for Alternattiva Demokratika