The basic difference between an abusive democracy and a dictatorship is that the people eventually get to kick the government out. The PN’s attitude on parliamentary affairs and the lack of respect for the highest institution in Malta might be lawful but possibly not legal. GonziPN has a way of bending rules and the prime minister has stretched the rules of elasticity to breaking point.
In the House Business committee, the Government flexed its muscles and refused to take a particular motion, or the discussion thereof, to Parliament. Normally, an ethical solution would be to ask the House to resolve the issue but since GonziPN knew that it would suffer yet another defeat, the PN administration decided not to.
Actually, the actions followed by the Gonzi administration are admissible according to the constitution. Although standing orders reserve alternate Thursdays for MP’s private business, it has been the practice that a procedural motion is subject to a regulatory procedure at the beginning of the parliamentary session. The Speaker, Michael Frendo said that Parliament has to follow existing rules. Standing Orders should be updated to allow for such motions but the Gonzi administration decided to turn a deaf ear.
Labour Party leader Joseph Muscat immediately said that a new Labour government will update rules for Parliamentary procedure and will undertake the reform necessary for better governance, by setting up a constitutional convention, which will include representatives from the different areas of society to build the Second Republic. This is democracy.
However, the stance taken by Gonzi, on the engagement of RCC as an advisor on EU affairs and on maintaining RCC’s status as Ambassador, was more than bending rules. Especially, since this person was removed from office by a majority parliamentary decision. This is abusive use of power at its best.
Lawrence Gonzi, out of pique with the Labour Party and with some members of his own party has this obsession to remain in power. He is well aware that he does not have a Parliamentary majority, he has a right to maintain his defiant attitude but though it might be lawful it is definitely not in the interests of Malta and its people.