After Constitutional Court’s decision, Speaker proposes cap on number of MPs

Speaker Anglu Farrugia questions efficiency of large parliament after Constitutional Court’s decision to allocated the PN two additional seats brings total number of MPs in House of Representatives to 71

Speaker Anglu Farrugia
Speaker Anglu Farrugia

Just days after the Constitutional Court allocated the Nationalist Opposition an additional two seats in parliament, Speaker Anglu Farrugia has proposed that a cap be implemented on the number of MPs in the House of Representatives. 

In comments to GWU-owned newspaper It-Torca, Farrugia, the former deputy leader of the Labour Party, questioned the efficiency of “such a large” parliament, and urged the PL and the Nationalist Party to analyse whether it would be in Malta’s “best interests” if such a cap were to be introduced.

“I think we should all see whether it is wise to have such a large parliament. The Labour Party and the PN should analyse whether a consensus could be struck in Malta’s best interests in order for parliament to amend the constitutional laws and limit the number of MPs in the House of Representatives,” Farrugia said.

Notwithstanding his proposals, the Speaker insisted that he would abide by the ruling of the Constitutional Court.

Farrugia’s comments were made in the wake of the Constitutional Court’s decision allocating the Nationalist Party another two seats in parliament. The unprecedented decision will see parliament’s composition from 69 to 71 seats, a first in the history of the Maltese parliament.

The government has 38 seats while the PN has 31. Former PN Gozo minister Giovanna Debono and former Labour MP Marlene Farrugia are independent.

Mosta mayor Edwin Vassallo and Peter Micallef will take up the new seats, nearly four years after a mistake was made during the counting process.

Speculation was rife as to who would take the second seat, with the Nationalist Party said to have preferred introducing Ann Fenech, president of the party executive, to parliament via a co-option. However, legal experts advised the Electoral Commission against co-option, arguing that for the Electoral Commission to be in line with the judgment, the MP must have contested the 2013 elections.