The two extra seats

I am not against that one day, the sooner the better, one or more members of the Greens will be in Parliament

I read the opinion piece (MaltaToday, Sunday, 29 May) by Saviour Balzan, and I am not surprised I found it a very misleading piece to read, starting from its title. In the counting of the 2013 election votes, a mistake was made in the counting of votes in two districts, and because of these mistakes two Labour candidates had been pronounced elected wrongly.

Discovered later, the electoral commission decided that the two Nationalist victims, who were supposed to be elected, should just the same be admitted to Parliament.

In my opinion it was a wrong decision. This decision resulted in our Parliament having two unelected persons, costing the taxpayer about €100,000 each per year. By this decision the Nationalist Party lost nothing, but Labour gained two extra seats in the House.

I do not know whether or not the Nationalists had complained to the commission then; but I do know that they went to court for a ruling. Three years on, the case is still in court. A shame to whoever is arranging these court proceedings.

Ms Justice Schembri Orland’s judgement said among other things, that the Nationalist Party should be given another two members to sit in Parliament. A week or so before this sentence I heard Simon Busuttil say that if the Nationalist Party will lose this case, he will keep fighting in the courts, even in Europe.

To me it was right for the Nationalist Party to keep fighting, because they have a just case; but I would have never mentioned in public what my intention is. I also heard the Prime Minister making fun of Busuttil, seeing Busuttil running to Europe with a lost case. After the case the Prime Minister himself said that he did not agree with the judge’s decision and the party will appeal it.

Apparently also Mr Balzan did not like Ms Justice Schembri Orland’s decision when he gave a title to his article, and I quote ‘Two Seats for 50 votes, 5,500 votes for the Greens equals what?’

I am sure that Mr Balzan is intelligent enough, that playing around with figures and numbers will take you nowhere. With my greatest respect for the Greens, I am not against that one day, the sooner the better, one or more members of the Greens will be in Parliament, but the  50 votes which the Nationalists are fighting for have got nothing to do with the 5,500 Green votes mentioned in this article.

Mr Balzan started his letter by mentioning Mr Bedingfield. This is his second time in about the same number of months that this person embarrassed the Prime Minister. I heard that he is a consultant in the Office of the Prime Minister. I truly want to learn what consultancy Mr Bedingfield can offer.

One last thing about the latest. Simon Busuttil, as leader of the Nationalist Party, had been offended when the party received from the company Kasco a request to settle its debt with this company. Dr. Busuttil had called it “a threat to democracy”.

I do not agree. What I agree with is that Keith Schembri is still in control of all of his companies, and he is doing nothing wrong if he is asking for his money, and here we are talking about a debt of €120,000. What I also agree with is that Keith Schembri and others who had secret accounts should leave Castille. Castille is not a place for these financial games, which the people are hearing about. 

Joseph Muscat

Saviour Balzan replies:

The electoral result of 2013 justly awarded the winners a nine-seat majority. There is no justification for bringing this down to seven. Contrary to what Mr Muscat stated, I have nothing against Justice Schembri Orland.