[WATCH] Busuttil: Parties shouldn’t be ‘investigated and judged’ by Electoral Commission

Four electoral commissioners appointed by the opposition tell President that investigation over PN financing is anti-Constitutional

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil

PN leader Simon Busuttil has said he cannot trust the Electoral Commission to conduct fair investigations since the majority of members are appointed by the Prime Minister.

Arguing that past court sentences have clearly shown that the same entity cannot be the investigator and judge, Busuttil asked “How can we ever trust electoral commission with a majority of members appointed by government?”

Busuttil was answering questions on an earlier statement issued by the PN in which it announced that “four electoral commissioners” wrote a letter to the President of the Republic in which they said that the investigation on donations received by the PN is in breach of the Constitution and the European Convention of Human Rights.

The commissioners are also objecting to a number of other investigations, including the Labour party's failure to register as a party, the Labour Party's engagement of political appointees on its media and the use of the Prime Minister's official residence in Girgenti by the Labour parliamentiary group.

The PN statement does not name the four commissioners. The Electoral Commission is made up of a chairperson appointed by the Prime Minister and eight members chosen by the two major parties.

The all-male electoral commission includes four members appointed by the opposition
The all-male electoral commission includes four members appointed by the opposition

The PN is being accused of breaching party financing rules, with the hotel group owned by Silvio Debono - db Group - claiming that it was asked to pay salaries of the PN executives, through donations that were “paid” to the PN’s media company Media.Link, but which were not backed up by actual commercial services rendered.
“What the commissioners are saying reflects what constitutional experts have already said,” the PN statement says.

The PN has repeatedly refused to divulge details of the “commercial arrangements” between Media.link and db Group saying that it will continue to respect the privacy of the deals.

Moreover, the PN has publicly stated that “the matter is currently being investigated by the Electoral Commission and we are confident that we will defend the matter successfully there.”

However, the PN has now changed tack and in its statement said that it will “reserve the right to take all necessary action to ensure that the Electoral Commission does not violate the Constitution and fundamental human rights.”
The PN added that while all reported cases should be investigated “its unacceptable that the commission acts as investigator and judge. Especially when the majority of the commission is appointed by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. The commission, therefore, can never guarantee impartiality,” the PN said.