President chairing constitutional reform committee

President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca held a first meeting with representatives of the two major political parties represented in Parliament over constitutional reform • Small parties excluded

President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca appears to be heading a steering committee for constitutional reform made up exclusively of representatives of the PL and PN
President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca appears to be heading a steering committee for constitutional reform made up exclusively of representatives of the PL and PN

Constitutional reform has been an electoral pledge long postponed but now it transpires that President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca has been tasked with leading the talks.

A steering committee has been appointed with representatives nominated by the two major political parties in Parliament and the President appears to be heading it.

The information was divulged today in a statement released by the Office of the President, which said that Coleiro Preca called the first meeting of the steering committee today at San Anton Palace.

No information was given as to the remit and terms of reference of the committee but the statement said the meeting was about “preparations for the process leading to constitutional reform”.

This is the first time that information on this initiative has come to light. 

Party representatives named

The statement also revealed that the Labour Party’s representatives on the steering committee are Justice Minister Owen Bonnici, Reforms Parliamentary Secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli and former deputy prime minister Louis Grech.

The Nationalist Party’s representatives are MP Chris Said, former European commissioner Tonio Borg and Amy Camilleri Zahra.

The Democratic Party, which has two MPs, is not represented in the steering committee. Neither is Alternattiva Demokratika, which has no MPs but has been contesting elections and proposing constitutional reform since 1992.

Constitutional reform was an electoral pledge in 2013 but the Labour government’s appointment of ex PN MP Franco Debono to prepare the groundwork for a constitutional convention was opposed by the Opposition.

READ ALSO: ‘I’ve always championed Constitutional reform’ - Franco Debono

As a result, the constitutional convention never took off and after the 2017 election, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat once again pledged to reform the Constitution.

Various attempts over the years for a wide reform of the Constitution faltered and changes have been piecemeal.

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