PN opposes amendments to Interpretation Act, says they are unconstitutional

The Nationalist Party accuses the government of trying to pass an amendment that bypasses the need for a two-thirds majority to change the Constitution

Nationalist MPs Therese Comodini Cachia (left) and Karol Aquilina (right)
Nationalist MPs Therese Comodini Cachia (left) and Karol Aquilina (right)

The Nationalist Party will be voting against an amendment to the Interpretation Act, saying it violates the Constitution and nullifies “the fundamental right to a fair hearing of all citizens.”

The announcement was made by Nationalist MPs Karol Aquilina and Therese Comodini Cachia at a press conference on Monday.

The party said this was the second time the government, through Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis, has attempted this. Back in October 2020, Zammit Lewis tabled a bill to amend the Constitution in relation to the right to a fair hearing concerning large administrative fines levied by politically-appointed bodies.

At the time the PN had said they would not vote in favour because it was anti-constitutional and violated fundamental human right.

The party said after the government realised the Bill couldn't be approved by parliament as a two-thirds vote was required to change the Constitution, it published another Bill with the intent to amend the Interpretation Act.

“This is an ordinary law that regulates how the laws of our country should be applied and interpreted and about the language used in them,” the party explained.

The PN said that the government wanted to use this amendment to the Interpretation Act to bypass the two-thirds majority vote issue.

“The government also wants these changes to apply retroactively, to cases that have already taken place, to procedures that have already been initiated and to those of the future,” the party said.

The PN said it strongly believed that the proposed Bill violates the Constitution.

“The Opposition considers the government's behaviour and in particular of Minister Edward Zammit Lewis to be scandalous, irresponsible and anti-democratic.”

The party called on Zammit Lewis to withdraw the Bill at once and not “re-introduce such a Bill in the future.”