This article was first published on The Malta Independent, view it here.
The MEP elections are less than 100 days away and after having been approached by the Nationalist Party to form part of the already valid line up of candidates, I decided to take the plunge and contest. It was a very difficult decision as having contested the last general election in Malta I know what hard work (and sleepless nights) goes into all political campaigning. With MEP campaigns being even more far reaching, with the aim being to reach out to all the districts and not just one or two – surely it is no easy feat! However I do not like to live in regret so I decided to take the opportunity to give my two penny’s worth. As someone recently told me “il dovere si chiama” (duty calls).
I strongly believe that all candidates deserve our support and the least we can do is to fulfil our duty to vote. In my view, not voting should never be an option because as citizens of Malta we need good representation in the European Parliament. Like it or not, voting is the only way that we get to have a say with respect to who is to represent us.
Look at it this way – if we don’t vote not only do we opt out of the democratic process but we would also be allowing other people to choose representatives on our behalf.
These elections take place once every five years, and currently about 700 members of the European Parliament represent some 500 million people from 28 member states. In this scenario, it is common knowledge that Malta and Maltese citizens are constantly facing a number of challenges at European level. In order to achieve the best results and outcomes that are in the best interest of our country and of Europe, we need to stand up to be counted, and the first step is to go out and vote.
The trials we face in Europe include the management of migration and the protection of our borders, cyber security and data privacy as well as climate change.
In addition, due to Brexit, it is expected that the United Kingdom’s 73 MEPs would be removed just before the next elections. What will happen next in the process is still to be seen.
Democracy is something we tend to take for granted but unfortunately with every day that passes, democracies are facing more and more threats. I strongly believe that we need to safeguard it however way we can, before it is too late.
Utilising our vote is the best way of doing this. Our vote is our voice, and our voice is our pledge to support a democratic Europe. Being passive is certainly not an option we can afford, so every generation, young and old, should fully participate in this election.
The Nationalist Party has already presented a number of candidates and potentially, more will be announced in the near future. The candidates contesting to date are valid and with a lot to offer. This already gives us voters the power to choose who we think should represent us. In order to introduce some new blood, the Party has approached me and other new candidates. The new faces are, myself Roselyn Borg Knight, Peter Agius, Dione Borg, Michael Briguglio, Michael Mercieca, David Stellini and Frank Psaila. We also have candidates who have already been serving us in the European Parliament – David Casa, Roberta Metsola and more recently Francis Zammit Dimech, all of whom have gained a lot of experience locally as well as overseas.
This is the time to show all candidates our support. It is also the time for us to unite in order to send out one clear message to government – that democracy is alive and kicking in our country and that no matter how lucrative, we will never accept the path of corruption and hypocrisy.
If this is what we strongly believe in, this is the time to show it. This vote is about doing something for a better future and not just hoping for one. Each and every one of us has a responsibility that we must fulfil by voting. Venting on Facebook and being an armchair critic is not enough. Not this time. And because our system is based on a single transferable vote, it is important that we vote for all the Nationalist candidates, starting with our most preferred and ending with our least favourite. But it is of utmost importance that we vote for all of them.
We need people to look out for us in Europe, individuals who are capable and who have our interests at heart. But most importantly we need you – we need you to vote and be part of a future; a future of a united party and a united Europe, which embraces our Maltese identity.
Dr Roselyn Borg Knight is PN international Secretary and MEP candidate