Logic is the study of the principles of reasoning. The problem in Malta is that the Gonzi administration has shut out all forms of reasoning in its obsession to stay in power, so much so that it has discarded basic principles of parliamentary democracy. GonziPN’s forced resignations, as in Ministers, as in Senior cabinet consultants and Ambassador as well as one resignation from the ruling party have created a puzzle that can only be solved honourably by going to an election, immediately.
After the motions to remove Government Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici and Richard Cachia Caruana were approved in Parliament, logic dictates that the Government should have immediately called an election since the administration was defeated twice in a short span by the highest institution in the country. Parliament, by a clear majority, voted to reverse the decisions taken by the Prime Minister.
Parliament also discussed a motion to oust Minister Austin Gatt. The Gonzi administration needed the Speaker’s casting vote to survive this vote of no confidence in one of its most senior ministers. Another motion for the removal of the same minister has now been filed and GonziPN cannot afford another defeat in Parliament.
In his inimitable obstinate way, Lawrence Gonzi might ask for the resignation of this Minister to avoid having to call an election in 2012. Gonzi has an obsession that he does not want to go to the electorate before 2013 and he might be prepared to sacrifice even his most precious pieces to try and cling to power. Besides this parliamentary motion against Gatt, another motion to oust the Minister for Health, Joe Cassar, is also in the pipeline. Logically, the solution is easy, but only if one were to apply principles of reasoning.
The PN parliamentary group has also lost its majority. The resignation of Pullicino Orlando from the Nationalist party has added a twist to the puzzle. Although possibly constitutionally correct, Gonzi’s relative party majority is no longer. It is also true that what is done cannot be undone and the extra seats given to the PN are there to stay. Nevertheless this is bending the rules almost to breaking point and with logic; the outcome would have been different. The ‘new’ coalition is also a puzzle in itself. In most democratic processes, the first logical thing to do is obtain a vote of confidence for the new coalition. But alas, logic is nowhere to be seen.
Franco Debono has repeatedly said that he will not support the government in the forthcoming budget. The fact that Gonzi wants to go ahead with the presentation of a budget that will take effect in a new legislature and with little chance of gaining approval in Parliament is not logical. Unless, of course, GonziPN will sacrifice Austin Gatt to gain a few more months into 2013.
The latest disagreement in the House Business Committee has also raised several issues. The stubbornness of GonziPN to delay the motions have added a new dimension to the puzzle created by GonziPN and it has been reported that Mr. Speaker has had to resort to advice from a Constitutional lawyer to solve this puzzle which the Gonzi administration has created over two parliamentary motions.
Lawrence Gonzi has often said that he wants to be on the right side of history. Yet, how can he judged so, especially when Parliament has revoked his choices, when Parliament has overruled his decisions and when he voted against the people’s wishes as expressed in the divorce referendum? How can Gonzi justify losing another Minister, even if this is a way of staying in power?
He himself has the key to the puzzle he has created. Gonzi’s only chance lies in doing the honourable thing, by applying logic to the problem and calling a 2012 election, that even a great number of his supporters believe should have already been announced.