Gonzi stands by 'free vote' but says divorce bill will pass

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi hit out at Labour and General Workers’ Union-owned newspapers for 'ferocious and unjust attacks' on the Church.

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi has declared that the divorce bill will be made law "even though [he doesn't] say this with pleasure," he told listeners on the PN's Radio 101 this morning.

Gonzi, under pressure over his voting declaration, said that he was in duty bound to respect both the will of the majority, and the minority in the referendum that approved a divorce bill last Saturday. Opposition leader Joseph Muscat has told Gonzi he has no choice but to vote yes on the bill.

Referring to the different stands – including the undeclared ones – of the Nationalist MPs, Gonzi said: “I have the duty to protect everybody’s positions on the matter, and I have the duty to defend the right of an individual to say ‘yes’, ‘no’ or abstain. I have the duty to stop those who are trying to lay down a dictatorial line which does not let a person express his or her own stand.”

The prime minister harked back to the 1980s when he said that this scenario reminded him of when PN supporters were scared to be seen carrying a Nazzjon newspaper under their arms. But he also hit out at Labour and General Workers Union owned media for their “ferocious and unjust” attacks on the Church.

“I am not here to defend the Church, but I am defending democracy,” he said. “Just like I defend the atheist, I also must defend the Catholic, the Protestant and the Buddhist.... Does liberal progressivism mean stopping people from expressing their opinion or taking a position even when the majority wins?”

Gonzi condemned the “pressure” from the media that was questioning MPs on how they are going to vote in Parliament. “The parliamentary process has still to give birth to this law. How can I vote on a law which I have not discussed yet? We still have to amend and discuss various points of the law. If at the end of the parliamentary process the law does not reflect the question, how am I supposed to agree with it?”

He said it was strange to expect an answer from MPs on their vote now, and said it was Joseph Muscat who had committed a U-turn on the free vote in parliament. “I gave a free vote to my MPs from the very beginning. At no point did I feel I had to tie them with a vote or even worse, threaten them to vote according to the party line. This is the radical difference between me and Joseph Muscat: for months he has been saying that everyone will be given a free vote, but now this free vote has vanished.”

Gonzi said the free vote would still respect the people's will: “What’s the use of having a parliamentary process if everyone if forced to vote yes? I hope we are not saying that this process is irrelevant.”

Gonzi reiterated that whilst the will of the people should be respected, the representatives of the people should be left in the liberty to vote how they want. He said he understood those who claimed that if they could not be at peace with the will of the people and with their own conscience, would feel they had to abstain. “This is something that will not happen. We are not here to play chess. Divorce will be introduced as the people have decided.”

Echoing former Nationalist Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami’s comments, Gonzi said the divorce referendum should not be compared to the 2003 EU referendum and the referendum leading to Malta becoming a republic. “The divorce referendum was tied to values and the conscience whilst the other two referenda were political,” he said. “However, there is no difference in the interpretation of the result.”

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@ Issa narraw......if as you say you are not comfortable with Labour in government - because of their dinosaurs, why would you vote Labour? It doesn't make sense, it's a case of cutting your nose to spite your face. In life there isn't anything perfect, so one has to choose between the devil you know and the devil you don't know - hardly the case here because we all have had a taste of Labour in the past. Although Sant's Labour was completely different to that of Mintoff's and KMB's, still everybody remembers what happened after 1996. The economy ground to a halt, unemployment shot up, investment ceased, all the Edgar Mizzi reports which Sant commisioned in line with his pronouncements during the election run-up, showed that there was no proof of corruption in one single case and Sant had to swallow his words. One must gove credit to Alfred Sant for his clean-up of the Labour party, for ridding it of its violent elements and for side-tracking a lot of former ministers in Mintoff's and KMB's cabinet; the position has however now been reverse thanks to Joseph Muscat whho wants to serve god and the devl.Still, despite Sant's good work the economic climate in 1996/98 was not good at all. I can't understand why no Labour government since Boffa's time managed to create a congenial economic and politic climate. Labour days were replete with trouble, insecurity and uncertainty. On the other hand all PN administrations after WWII managed to create a favourable economic and political climate which led to creation of jobs, the lowest unemployment rates, a sense of good-feeling among most people, substantial progress in all fields, a marked improvement in the quality of life. This doesn't mean that there were no problems - there are always problems, humans are ego-centric and greedy by nature - but the problems during PN administrations pale into insignificance when compared to those during Labour administrations. It is indeed significant that no labour administration after WWII survived its full term, baring the Mintoff days after 1971, but that is a completely different story. Is it the Labour's socialist creed that leads to this situation, is it because there is too much government, is it their heavy-handed style of governance - but this was not the case during Alfred Sant's premiership. Maybe somebody might care to come up with some answers.
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Paul Sammut
@briffy. Refer to the subject of article above, which is the topic in question, qalb ta` qalbi. In the meantime keep living in the best of all possible worlds. Mhux hekk? Qeqq xi trid taghmel? Imbghad wara l-elezzjoni naraw.Enjoy dear.
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Helenio Galea
Briffy, let me assured you that I am no socialist and I have no desire to see labour in place, what with AST and AF in place but we have got to a pathetic state and need a new team at the top. Grow up. The days of being brainwashed and following one party irrespective of how many cock ups are over.
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Not a 'par idejn sodi' at all!!!!! More a 'par idejn tat-tafal'!!!!!
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GYK...What has got the referendum on divorce to do with what we are talking about? And who is referring to the PM as the great leader? And if you are trying to compare Malta to North Korea, you must be delirious and you really need help. I shan't answer any more; it's a waste of time and energy trying to debate with people of your mentality. Good night!
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Paul Sammut
Briffy, Qalb ta` qalbi.I will gladly spell it for you as it was done back in 71. M-O-S-T E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. But I am sure this will not convice the likes of you who keep reciting 'a la Kim Il Sung' that under this government we live in the best of all possible worlds. But then qalbi, you see, the Maltese did not think so in last week's referendum. Heqq x`tghamel la x-xitan rid hekk? Issa Dr Gonzi aktarx ikollu jivota Iva - mhux bil-qalb did-darba, mind you. But then you may advise him better. Please do for he would probably very much appreciate it. But then, on the other hand, he may not really need it at all for as you say who can possibly do things better then he? Big brother knows best. Mhux hekk? Sweet dreams, qalbi, bhal dari.
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GYK....Could you kindly spell out what Labour can do better than PN? And I don't have in mind what Labour did to Malta in the 1970s and 1980s. Do you sincerely believe that fuel and energy prices will come down if there is Labour in government? I hope you realise that Malta has no say in the price of oil.. The Russians are enjoying this and they will do their damnest to keep the price of oil and LNG as high as possible. Do you believe that all the workers in Malta will have their wages substantially increased if Labour were to be at the helm? Don't you realize that the wages are determined by what local industry can afford to pay? Don't you realize that substantial increases in wages would lead to loss of jobs? Don't you realize that the minimum wage in Malta is not bad at all considering the level of education and skills, that the only way that workers can improve their income is to better their qualifications and their skills? Would you imagine in the wildest of your dreams that a Labour government would reduce I.T?
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Paul Sammut
@ briffy, who has the delusion that he is whiter than the whitewash on the wall. :- ''... they never tell us what Labour would like to do for Malta.'' Qalb ta` qalbi, any one can do better for Malta then this greedy, creepy, sleazy government and Dr Muscat can definitely do much better still. :)x
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@briffy Quote: 'These people however do not have the guts to show their real name and hide under their non-de-plume.' You have hit the nail right on the head. But has it ever occurred to you that we fear reprisals from the Christian Democratic government of GonziPN that you support so vehemently? Yes, this is the reason why some of us use noms-de-plume, because this is a vindictive government that does not tolerate criticism and will only accept lacky yes-men around them. And of course, is it so bad that what some of us want is to see the Labour in power? So what? Certainly, the reason for your writing on this blog is that you want the PN to remain in power. Now do not be gutless and admit this much, if at least you do not wish to show your real name.
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@Salgister...you prove my point
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The majority of the people are getting fed up of this "Kuxjenza". The only honourable decision can make now is to call for general elections and let the people decide. Btw it will be very interesting to see how the "Kuxjenza" works next Saturday when they have to vote on the motion regarding their 500 euro weekly pay rise!! We'll have to wait and see!!
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Micheal Bonanno
@briffy, has it occured to you that the commentors below can be ex-PN who are fed with Gonzipn after 25 years in government? Has it occured to you that too many gaffes were perpetrated by the PM? Has it occured to you that times and the people are changing and the Maltese no longer can digest the past PL administrations' faults as an excuse to keep the PN in government? Hasit ever occured to you that the PN is now past its expiry date and needs some time in opposition to renew itself structurally and ideologically? Has it ever occured to you that while the labourites have a right to be anticlerical (don't forget they bore the brunt in the 60's of Archbishop Michael Gonzi so as to give advantage to the PN) and the way the local church is presenting itself in civil matters? But add to this even people who are PN inclined are against the church because of its interference in purely civil matters?
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I am not surprised any longer by the contents of most comments on this site. It stiicks out a mile that the majority of the people who post comments here are rabid socialists, anti-clericals and have only one aim i.e. to see Labour back in office. These people however do not have the guts to show their real name and hide under their non-de-plume. While some of them seem to lack basic education, there are a number who are quite articulate and are not the usual run-of-the-mill Labour acolytes, Their style and their good command of English - which in Malta is the yardstick to measure someone's level of education - suggest that they could be in the higher echelons of the Labour camp, journalists or budding professionals. Their agenda is solely to see the PN out of office, the earlier the better. They pretend to preach morality, fortrightness, transparency, accountability; they project all the essentials of democracy as the desired end, but they come across as a bunch of writers who work in unison and are all out to denigrate the Nationalist party and the church. Their stand is a common stand and they give one the impression that they belong to a movement set up to undermine anything which comes from the nationalist camp, and to trip the administration at every opportunity. They have only one agenda, to paint the adminstration black over and over again, in the hope of convincing the reader that the PN's time is up simply because they have been in government for a quarter of a century and that it is time for a change. The comments of these writers can be quite subtle and are not targeted at every Tom, Dick and Hrarry. They never come up with something positive, they never tell us what Labour would like to do for Malta. In fact they are absolutely silent on what Labour can offer which would be better than what the PN has done over the last couple of decades. One admits that this is not an easy task, simply because labour has nothing to offer. But the campaign is a detructive one, it aims solely at detroying the PN. They repeat the same things ad nauseam in the hope that their message will get across.
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Quote: 'Gonzi reiterated that whilst the will of the people should be respected, the representatives of the people should be left in the liberty to vote how they want.' Unquote. I ask, if all the MPs on the Government side decide to vote against divorce, how would the will of the people be respected? Gonzi please don't be ambiguous, trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. Quote: 'This is something that will not happen. We are not here to play chess.' Unquote. I seem to have heard this chess phrase once more, about three years ago from Joe Saliba. Is it chess or it is not chess?
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doris cassar
'Gonzi condemned the “pressure” from the media that was questioning MPs on how they are going to vote in Parliament' I remember how the PL candidates, me included, were hounded by the PN media asking ad nauseum how we had voted in the EU referendum. So I ask Dr Gonzi ' What is the difference now?'
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A typical lose-lose-lose situation. If he votes YES, he does a U-turn, NO, he would be a dictator and ABSTAIN, he would be a coward!
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Dear PM... Just eat humble pie and stop damaging PN... Vote YES. You are there to represent the majority of this country; and the majority voted YES! It is not good enough to say that the divorce bill will go through; iss mur obsor, after 53% majority should anyone still doubt it ? .... Maltese want to have their PM voting YES like the majority of us citizens; otherwise you are no longer good to represent this country. You are not just a normal MP, you are the PM... Your vote has a much bigger weight!!
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Kif jghidu il-Prim "is between a rock and a hard place". Ma nghirx ghalih blahissa specjalment mill-gambetti li qed jaqla mill-kamp tieghu stess. gambetti bhall dawk ta' Austin Gatt, Edwin Vassallo u anke l-president emeritius Eddie fenech Adami fejn wara li l-parlamentari ghaddew decizjoni tahraq lil poplu u l-poplu iddecieda, xorta wahda jinsistu dwar vot kontra fil-parlament. F'sitwazzjoni bhal din hekk ma jkunx hemm caqlieq min dawn ta' kontra jidher li l-krizi politika ghall-Pn ser tkompli tikber u il-Prim Ministru ma jibqghalux triq ohra hlief jghajjat elezzjoni bikrija, hekk irid jigbor giehu ghall-istorja. Membru parlamentari qatt ma jista jimponi l-kuxjenza personali tieghu fuq haddiehor u hekk ikun ser jasal biex jghamel dan ghandu jirrizenja. Il-poplu issa tkellem u kien car hafna x'irid.
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"I am not here to defend the church...." of course you are! You never miss an opportunity to defend the church. Frankly if the church wants to speak up it does not need and should not need the Prime Minister of the country to do so. Being a democracy the church can speak up and does. The gallons of venom it churned out during the referendum is a testament to the fact that the church can speak up and does. So I suggest you focus on somehow picking up the pieces of your bad political decisions and have the decency to get your MP's to respect the verdict of the referendum without any more silly statements.
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dejjem il kuxjenza, min meta l hawn ? min meta haddu 5oo u tajtu wiehed , dik il kuxjenza. step down GONZI
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GonziPn kontra d-divorzju.....imma ftit hadmu kontra l-krizijiet tal-koppji. Ghollew kollox m'ghola s-sema...mhux ghalihom......imma ghal-kumplament tal-poplu Malti u Ghawdxi. Id-divorzju kellkom tahdmu kontrih hafna qabel.....Strategija 0/100 Araw x'ser taghmlu ghax ser tiehdu tkaxkira kbira!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Dear PM if you ignore the majority, and vote No or abstain, like you say for your conscience,then for me & many others, you are ignoring ,what the majority wants, then come next election, do not expect our vote! I know the divorce will pass, you said, but we expect you to vote YES like the majority did ! WE will abstain too, come next election!
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AND BY THE WAY ... MORALITY IS MORALITY AND RELIGION IS SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT. . RELIGION GIVES PEOPLE BLINKERS. IT GETS PEOPLE TO LOOK AT THE WORLD THROUGH A CONFUSING MIST OF DOS AND DONT'S. . RELIGIOUS PEOPLE SADLY FORGET THAT TO CREATE HEAVEN ON EARTH ~ WE NEED TO LISTEN AND ATTEND (IF WE ARE ABLE TO) TO THE NEEDS OF OTHERS INSTEAD OF PRETENDING WE LIVE IN A PERFECT WORLD. . THIS IS WHAT POLITICS OUGHT TO BE ALL ABOUT. POLITICS AND MORALITY ARE INSEPARABLE. POLITICIANS NEED TO BE PERSONS WITH A WIDE AWAKE AWARNEESS OF SOCIAL REALITIES. IT IS THIS WIDE AWAKE AWARENESS THAT OUGHT TO GIVE THEM THE SPRINGBOARD FROM WHICH TO MAKE MORAL (POLITICAL) DECISIONS ON BEHLAF OF THE PEOPLE THEY REPRESENT.
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One thing that the PM couldn`t come into terms with is that we will be having the divorce bill under his leadership and secondly it was proposed by a fellow party member JPO
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How do people interpret this man's double speak? (i) “The parliamentary process has still to give birth to this law. How can I vote on a law which I have not discussed yet? We still have to amend and discuss various points of the law. If at the end of the parliamentary process the law does not reflect the question, how am I supposed to agree with it?” . Lawrence, so what were you thinking about exactly when you called a referendum? . AND . "Gonzi reiterated that whilst the will of the people should be respected, the representatives of the people should be left in the liberty to vote how they want." . So you are saying that the representatives of the people do not necessarily represent the people. Is that supposed to be Cool or what? What kind of demonocracy is that? . Finally all political decisions are MORAL decisions. Everything and anything which impacts on persons or groups has moral consequences. . LG - you get top grade for Double Speak and super top grade for Not Having A Conscious Awareness of the world you live in.
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GonziPn Stai camminando verso la piu grande sconfitta politica sull'isola di Malta. PL....37.........PN.....28
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buzulotti wahdek gonzi. isek alfred sanf lahar ftit xur qabel ma saret lelezjioni. int taf li qijad under ghax jien ftit metri il bodd minek kont xi jiem ili u taf xbtejt tajt? time has come its the biging of the and for me. move like a gentel man so maybe your party wins but if you stay there u be come like fredu sant
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bla....bla....bla... u xejn sugu.
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Joseph Sant
Yes Gonzi - go on repeating your own spin. Finally you will end up believing it yourself. Divorce legislation based on the question we voted for in the referendum will be on the Maltese statute books within a few weeks. Live with it!!
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Hawwadni ha nifhmek u viva l-matematika u mela l-kuxjenza! https://mazzun.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/vera-rridu-nsahhu-l-familja/
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There is no distinction between the referendum on Divorce or the EU referendum. In both cases the majority won by democratic means. All politicians should respect the people's choice once given. Anyone who does not show respect to the majority vote should resign their seat. Divorce is not going to be imposed on anybody who does not want it. I seem to remember that certain important treaties passed by the EU went through parliament with no referendums held. So much for democracy. In the divorce issue case a referendum was held. Why? the answer is obvious. Why we are still debating this issue is beyond me when there are far more issues pending in this country which are crying out for attention.
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Ok they don't need to be pressured, but if they aren't able to represent the people by voting 'YES' they should just resign as they cannot fulfill their job... which is not to keep seats warm.
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indeed words well stated. and i see no point in getting MPs for their voting preferences. the vote has been already decided with a Referendum. MP should now ensure that the law is discussed with a social conscience. and on those lines should now MP concentrate. speculation and arm twisting to get words out from MP's on thier voting preference is all a matter of a political cheap play game. again could it be another wild goose chase?
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While Deborah reinforces the blowing wind of political change, Gonzi keeps mum on his intentions to vote! Full list of how MPs will vote on divorce at h http://mazzun.wordpress.com/

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