No transparency from PL-PN monopoly without financing reforms – Godfrey Farrugia

PD leader Godfrey Farrugia says major parties are funded by wealthy entities and lobbies to influence party legislation and political stands

PD leader Godfrey Farrugia and deputy leader Timothy Alden
PD leader Godfrey Farrugia and deputy leader Timothy Alden

The Democratic Party has accused both major parties of using their commercial companies to support them financially apart from continuous propaganda campaigns.

In a press conference outside the House of Representatives, PD leader Godfrey Farrugia said these companies had not presented their necessary updated submissions to the MFSA, some for many years.

“It is a reality that funds are being directed by wealthy entities and their lobbies in an attempt to influence party behaviour whether in government or Opposition, in exchange for various forms of support,” Farrugia said.

Farrugia said it was evident that both PL and PN are comfortable with the current state of affairs, as party financing cannot be effectively monitored and regulated.

“In October 2018, the Constitutional Court stated that the Electoral Commission had a right to investigate party wrongdoings and present a ruling, but not to impose penalties. It was ruled that the Electoral Commission cannot act as a judge, jury and executioner all in one. Since then, Parliament has revisited the General Elections Act and has amended it twice. However, there was no attempt from government to amend this Act according to the Constitutional Court’s ruling.”

Farrugia and deputy chairman Timothy Alden said the PL-PN monopoly had cultivated a political culture with no accountability or transparency.

“Politics is not a business. We do not have to settle for begging bowl politics, where private interests take over the political direction of our country. Malta deserves better. The only way to restore politics to being a public service is by taking money out of politics by reforming the party financing laws,” Farrugia said.

The MP also called for the replacement of party-owned TV stations by a political channel run by the public broadcaster under the supervision of PBS. “This will ensure each political entity is allotted a fair share of exposure, thus substituting and replacing biased and partisan political party owned media.”

Farrugia also said the government was able to use unlimited public funds to advertise its performance across the internet and social media.

“The system is one where taxpayers are always funding the marketing campaigns of the party in government. When the party in government calls a general election, it has the power of incumbency, facilitating procuring legitimate or illegitimate favours, offering promotions at the last minute and unnecessarily recruiting personnel into public service and the public sector, and fast-forwarding the approval of building permits.”

PD is calling for the Electoral Commission and the Broadcasting Authority to no longer be constituted simply by representatives of the two major parties, state-financing for parties funded by a punitive corporate tax, and a lobbyist register.

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