Why should we have to fight for the rule of law ?

This article was first published on The Malta Independent. View it here

Rule of Law Definition: “The authority and influence of law in society, especially when viewed as a constraint on individual and institutional behaviour; (hence) the principle whereby all members of a society (including those in government) are considered equally subject to publicly disclosed legal codes and processes.” – Oxford English Dictionary

Earlier this month, in my capacity as International Secretary of the Nationalist Party, I accompanied Dr. Adrian Delia at the European People’s Party’s Summit in Brussels. There, we discussed some important issues with other European leaders who form part of the EPP. Among other things we discussed Brexit and how important it is for the EU that the UK does not end up leaving the European Union without an official deal.

This is a time of uncertainty for the whole of Europe, and Malta should be ready for every eventuality. Many Maltese live and work in the United Kingdom and many British people live and work in Malta. We therefore need a plan in order to be ready for new challenges and also to be in a position to take advantage of any new opportunities. We need to examine how Brexit can benefit our businesses, particularly small to medium ones, as well as how it can benefit our employees and employers.

During the same summit we discussed the suspension of the Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Allianc. Fidesz was posing a threat to the rule of law. The Nationalist Party voted in favour of its suspension thus showing our consistentcy in our direction to defend citizens and the rule of law.

But what do we mean exactly, when we say that the Nationalist Party always defends the rule of law?

For starters the Nationalist Party is doing everything in its power to make sure that the Labour Party remains accountable and responsible according to law. It is unacceptable that for the first time in history the Attorney General is also the Prime Minister’s lawyer and also the lawyer of other Ministers close to the Labour Party.

The Attorney General also created a serious case of political imbalance when he decided not to give a full copy of the Egrantinquiry, to Dr. Adrian Delia. This left the Leader of Opposition no choice but to file a constitutional case against the Attorney General in order to be given a full copy of the inquiry.

As the editorial of this paper stated on March 17th, 2019“Delia in many ways, is the only person at the moment standing between the citizen and this government having a complete free-for-all at the expense of citizens rights, and at the expense of the public coffers.”

The Nationalist party is also defending the rule of law in other ways:

  1. We’re making sure that laws are clear, stable and just; that they are applied equally with everyone and that they protect fundamental rights including a person’s security. This is in direct conflict with what this administration is doing by introducing new laws just for show. One clear example of this is the ‘Whistleblowers’ Act, which in the case of the Algerian Visas scandal, resulted in whistleblowers being exiled out of the country.
  2. The Nationalist Party will continue to strive so that the process, with which laws are introduced, enacted, administered and enforced, is accessible, just and efficient.
  3. The Nationalist Party will continue to work to see that justice is served in a timely manner and that those responsible for delivering it are competent, neutral, independent, accessible, have the necessary resources to do so, and that they reflect the same nature and values of the communities that they serve.  The Minister of Justice is constantly boasting about having changed the system by which Judges and Magistrates are appointed but even Emeritus Judge Giovanni Bonello has very clearly stated that this same system has led to a situation where 16 out of 17 of these appointments were of people close to the Government. This is truly a shameful embarrassment for our country.

The Government is now obliged to implement the recommendations of the Venice Commission, whose recommendations are a perfect reflection of what the Nationalist Party has been recommending for a long time.  The Venice Commission is an advisory body of the Council of Europe. It is composed of independent experts in the field of constitutional law. The report states that there is a grave lack of checks and balances, and that citizens do not have access to justice in all cases. This means that Malta’s legal system is inconsistent with the very basic requirements of the rule of law, and as a result, inconsistent with the very notion of democracy.

Let’s face it, the Nationalist party might still be in the Opposition but it is also the only Party in Malta that is effective in safeguarding its citizens.   So, now, with local and European elections around the corner, is the time to choose wisely. Will we choose the Labour Party – a Party that has made a habit out of oppressing people’s rights, bulldozing the environment and destroying the rule of law? Or are we going to choose what is right for our country and our people, by stopping this Government from thinking that it can get away with anything?

This is the time to make our voices heard, and to vote in a way that makes a difference. I urge you all to vote for change in the upcoming elections.

 

Dr.Roselyn Borg Knight is a PN MEP candidate

 

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