Repubblika objects to lack of NGO representation in constitutional reform in letter to President

Repubblika are calling for constructive dialogue in reaction to comments by the Venice Commission and Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis on constitutional reforms

Repubblika want civil society to be part of the constitutional reform talks
Repubblika want civil society to be part of the constitutional reform talks

In a letter addressed to the President, Repubblika expressed their dismay in the way that government's constitutional reform was taking place, citing lack of NGO discussion as a cause for concern.

"In spite of any good intentions you may have, the government appears intent to push through the constitutional changes it wishes and leave out the ones that may restrain their unbridled wielding of power, without regard to civil society and hiding from the glare of independent media scrutiny," they write in the letter.

The Venice Commission had recently stated their criticism towards the lack of public consultation when passing constitutional amendments in parliament.

"The current constitutional amendments are meant to have a profound and long-term impact in Malta and hence require wide consultations within Maltese society. Thus, the rushed process through Parliament comes not only as a surprise but also a disappointment, despite the Government's assertions that the dialogue in Parliament was structured and broadcast on television," the report reads. 

"Confining the discourse to political parties in parliament without meaningful public consultation is akin to denying citizens their democratic entitlement to have a say in the shaping of the consitutional order."

Edward Zammit Lewis refuted these comments, saying that "the relevant stakeholders made their opinions known in the public domain, from online media to personal blogs," with these taken into account in substitution for public consultation. 

Repubblika found fault with this attitude, expressing their irritation in the letter.

"We are appalled that ministers consider the perusal of 'social media' as in any way amounting to adequate public engagement. We are appalled that ministers consider discussions they do not participate in between third parties as sufficient guidance for their own actions."

Repubblika called for the inclusion of civil society organisations that have given meaningful contributions on constitutional reform in the consultation process.

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