[WATCH] MPs' pension law withdrawn following PN Opposition U-turn

Controversial bill which was to grant a parliamentary pension for MPs who served for at least one legislature will be dropped after Opposition's unexpected withdrawal 

The government will be dropping the pension law after the Nationalist Opposition suddenly retracted its support.

The law, which the government said was being tabled only to address anomalies in pensions for MPs, would not be able to go through without the consent of the Opposition.

The government had tabled the law when its contents were agreed upon by both sides of the House.

Read more: MPs on both sides have agreed to pay themselves full pension after just one term

However, the Nationalist Opposition has now withdrawn its support, the government said in a statement.

The bill, tabled in the House by economy Minister Chris Cardona to amend laws in connection with upcoming pensions reforms, would have allowed MPs serving just one legislature to claim a parliamentary pension instead of serving two five-year terms.

In a press release, the Nationalist party said that it is satisfied that the government has taken note of the appeal. "The people come first. We are here to serve. The people have won thanks to the PN which chose to put the interests of pensioners foremost." 

Democratic party 'declares victory' 

In response to the Opposition's withdrawal, the Democratic party (PD) said it has "veritably checkmated" the motion and "is thus declaring a victory for the Maltese people."

PD came out strongly against the bill on Saturday when PD MP Marlene Farrugia said that the government and Nationalist opposition colluded together to purposely exclude PD MPs from voting on it in parliament. 

PD MP Godfrey Farrugia furthermore went on to initiate an online parliamentary petition, asking people to object to the proposed pension reform. 

"The debate, which could have taken up to two and a half hours to conclude if the two Speakers took their full speaking time, ended within twenty three minutes," PD said in a statement, explaining that the party is "compelled to expose the facts of how planned and clandestine manoeuvring by PL and PN together led to the debate on the pensions’ reform."

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