MPs say stability of government should be priority in electoral reform

MPs Michael Falzon and Beppe Fenech Adami participated in a discussion about constitutional reform organized by the law students' association

MPs Beppe Fenech Adami and Michael Falzon
MPs Beppe Fenech Adami and Michael Falzon
President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca
President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca

MPs from both sides of the House urged caution in a reform of the electoral law that would allow a third party to be elected into parliament, insisting that the current system offers stability. 

Government MP Michael Falzon and PN MP Beppe Fenech Adami were speaking at a discussion on constitutional reform at San Anton Palace, an event organized by the law students' association (GhSL). 

Falzon admitted that currently, it was not easy for a third party to get elected to parliament, though it was still possible.

Fenech Adami noted that even if the threshold were to be lowered to 3.5% of the national vote, as Alternattive Demokratika had called for in the past, the Green party would not have been elected. 

In the MEP elections, where candidates compete directly against each other, no AD candidate was elected.

"While I am in favour of giving third parties a chance to get elected, this must not come at the cost of stability," he said. "Public opinion is certainly in favour of stability."

Falzon agreed, noting that Alternattive Demokratika had suffered declining support over the years, suggesting that even if the national theshold was lowered, it would still struggle to get elected.

Earlier, President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca urged politicians to "stop dragging their feet" over constitutional reform, urgeing political parties to go beyond the discussion stages, where the process seems to stall at each attempt.

"It is a shame because this delay is leading to people losing their trust in politicians, the political class and judiciary and parliamentary institutions," she said. 

"A number of cases have arisen over the years that have made it abundantly clear that we must strengthen our Constitution."

Coleiro Preca called for an academic discussion over reform, free of partisan politics and personal interests, and that any proposed reform should take into account the values of equality, inclusion and the safeguarding of vulnerable persons.