The PN’s ‘divine right to govern’

Even Grillo was taken to court for slander. Will Manfred Weber say Italy’s government threatens democracy?

The comments made by the EPP Group chairman, Manfred Weber, are a grave concern and indicate that the PN are back in the game of using EPP to cause as much harm as possible
The comments made by the EPP Group chairman, Manfred Weber, are a grave concern and indicate that the PN are back in the game of using EPP to cause as much harm as possible

This week, a PN member of parliament was arraigned in court on a charge of slander. Big news! I for one, as well as a number of colleagues from both sides of the house, have been sued both criminally and civilly on several occasions. During my 24 years as a Parliamentarian, persons from within the PN have taken me to court on accusations of libel and/or slander under the same Criminal Code and under the same chapter of the law.

None of us has ever felt that such an action was a threat to democracy. Although the leader of the opposition should know that the judicial process is one of the main pillars of democracy, he has taken offence at the fact that a private citizen is seeking redress in court.

None of us is above the law. Some might enjoy parliamentary immunity – this could sometimes be deemed improper but legal; expecting PN immunity is both improper and illegal. The leader of the opposition has said that he actually won a similar case he himself instituted. But this is beside the point, the question is that he had used his democratic right at law without the shenanigans of the last few days. It is manifestly clear that Simon Busuttil is leaving no stone unturned to cause as much civil unrest as possible.

His mini mass meeting in front of the law courts was such an instance. The gathering which he addressed can serve to intimidate and disrupt. He asked those present not to react to what he termed as provocation, when it was he himself that initiated this provocation. He is taking us back to the times when party leaders asked people to take to the streets. The PN feel they have the divine right to govern and cannot accept their status in opposition.

On that same day there were other members of his party appearing in court on similar charges of slander and libel but he did not see these as an opportunity to generate an anti-government sentiment.

The Opposition leader is a lawyer by profession. He knows well enough that the particular chapter in the criminal code is the same applicable to the many court cases of the type. I will not go into the merits of this particular case. It is the right of a private citizen who feels injured with the remarks of a third party – be it an MP or otherwise – to seek redress at our courts of law. The court will decide on the matter. What is definite is that the government has nothing to do with it and I sincerely hope that no government will ever hinder any private citizen’s rights. By accusing the government of initiating such an action, Simon Busuttil is showing he has either lost touch with his profession or that he has a memory of convenience.

Busuttil’s antics can be put down to his party’s attempt to regain some lost political ground. But the comments made by the EPP Group chairman, Manfred Weber, are a grave concern and indicate that the PN are back in the game of using EPP to cause as much harm as possible. In his statement, the EPP chairman attacks the government of Malta, again completely missing the point – that this case was NOT instituted by the government. Where was Manfred Weber on all the other instances where PL Members of Parliament were taken to court on similar charges?

In Italy Beppe Grillo was taken to court for slander. Will Manfred Weber now accuse Italy’s government of threatening democracy?

The PN continue to believe that they have the divine right to govern and that they should be above the law.

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