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  • Writer's pictureGail Debono


Elections are coming up in March. I was never really into the hype surrounding this 5-yearly phenomenon, for various reasons I shall keep for another post, but as a passionate woman with strong views on the way a bog roll should be placed in its holder, no reason should be strong enough to make me apathetic about the opportunity to elect the next group of people to govern my country. But I am, apathetic that is. And the reason is simple.

The way the Maltese electoral process is set up, I am going to be disappointed with whatever choice I make.

First of all, the list of candidates I am allowed to vote for is a small list dictated by where I live. Each candidate will be bound to a political party or be independent, in a country where two major political parties rule the seas, because most people don’t think any further than voting for a colour rather than an ideal. Now I know that there are candidates who are capable of running the country affiliated with each of the parties, and contesting election as independents, but the most likely outcome of an election is for one of the two major parties to rule, or for the country to be ruled by a coalition, which inevitably results in one party having a majority of seats and a bigger say.

This is what I disagree with. I disagree that the entire country should be governed by one set of ideals across the board. I may, to use but an example, want a conservative MP as minister of education, but a liberal one as minister of health. Why must I choose 1 set of ideals by which every ministry is run?

I don’t want to vote conservative or liberal, nationalist or labour, I want to vote for a person who is fit to sit at the table that runs my country and I want to be able to decide which chair gets given to whom. Isn’t every department deserving of its own ideals? I should be able to choose Tom for Minister of Health, Dick for Minister of Education and Harriet for Minister of Tourism, because I truly believe that they are best suited to the job. So… let’s do away with governing by political party. Let every candidate convince us why he is the best person for the job. Let there be a group of professionals in each sector to decide who should be able to run for elections for that sector and let the people decide who should do what job, including that of prime minister, although I suppose if the MPs are elected in this way, they can be trusted to elect the right leader.

As you might imagine, I’ve been airing this view to all and sundry for a while, and I have got mixed reactions, ranging from it being a fantastic albeit difficult-to-implement idea, to it being a system which would not work… guess what? Neither does the system we have now, and it is the reason why we never get things done around here, and why major decisions call for referendums. Our parliamentary decisions are not based on what’s right for the country, but on whether one MP MUST vote for or against, based on the ideals of the political party s/he stands for.

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