Repubblika suggests fixed-term elections and ban on non-essential public appointments during election year

Repubblika is suggesting a fixed-term parliament and a ban on non-essential public appointments during election year in order to avoid unfair advantage to the governing party

Repubblika is calling for increased election monitoring, a fixed-term parliament, and a ban on non-essential public appointments in the run-up to elections so as to avoid unfair advantage for the governing party.

Repubblika's 'Fighting Corruption in our Elections' document is a 22-page manifesto inspired by guidelines from the Venice Commission to counter the power of incumbency in Maltese politics.

“Elections are the almost exclusive competence of politicians themselves,” Repubblika President Robert Aquilina said during a press conference on Tuesday.

He said that while corruption, in the form of offering money or other items to voters, is clearly prohibited by law, with fines and prison time for those caught guilty of this behaviour, no action is ever taken to regulate the behaviour of politicians.

“It is unbelievable that the Maltese political class, with a serious lack of maturity, seriousness and honesty, does not bring itself to stop these unacceptable practices,” Aquilina said.

In its document, Repubblika suggests stronger electoral surveillance through the Electoral Commission and Malta Police Force, with more resources dedicated to independent media and civil society so that they can monitor electoral campaigns.

Beyond this, the Maltese electoral process ought to be open to independent observers that are unaffiliated from political parties, with Malta adopting all recommendations made by international electoral observers.

With regards to the Electoral Commission, Repubblika suggests that the body should be composed in a way that ensures independence from political parties, and in turn complete neutrality. In turn, appointments ought to be made through an open, competitive process based on merit.

Repubblika further propose having a fixed-term parliament in order to remove the power of the incumbent party leader to freely determine the date of the general election, in turn having a strategic advantage over rival parties.

In addition to this, as from the beginning of Parliament’s fifth term, or as soon as an election is called, certain mechanisms should be triggered to avoid abuse of power.

Among these mechanisms, Repubblika is proposing to make it illegal for government to make non-essential appointments to public bodies, or to initiate selection processes for promotions or appointments to public bodies.

It would also be illegal for government to issue development permits or other related State action at a faster-than-average rate compared to any other point in the legislature, or to set aside public land for private interest.