'Hands off' electoral commission - Fenech Adami

PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami warns that the opposition will not allow government to "use" electoral commission for its own political expediencies 

PN deputy leader for party affairs Beppe Fenech Adami
PN deputy leader for party affairs Beppe Fenech Adami

The opposition today issued a stern warning over what it claimed was an attempt by government to “take over” the electoral commission.

Addressing Parliament, PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami said that “over 20 experienced staff members” were substituted by persons who manifestly support Labour.

This, the PN deputy leader for party affairs could lead to abuse, such as the disenfranchising of voters, and warned the new electoral chief commissioner to uphold the law.

Warning that the PN would not allow the electoral commission to undergo the “ethnic cleansing” which the government carried out in the police force and the army, Fenech Adami said “I genuinely appeal to the new electoral commissioner to keep his eyes open and ensure that the electoral commission does erode our democracy.”

Joseph Church who previously served as President George Abela's personal secretary was appointed Chief Electoral Commissioner last month. His appointment did not enjoy the Opposition's approval as agreement between the government and opposition was not reached.

The opposition had proposed the name of two highly qualified civil servants who it felt were better suited for the job, however these were overlooked by the government who opted for Church.

Confirming that Church did not enjoy the opposition’s trust, Fenech Adami said “I warn the new commissioner, hands off electoral commission.”

 He explained that over 20 persons “who are not Labour sympathisers” were transferred to other government departments, while all their replacements were Labourites.

Warning that the PN will not allow government to “use the electoral commission for its political expediencies,” Fenech Adami said that the opposition would not stand silent if the commission attempts to disenfranchise voters illegitimately.