Saturday, 7 January 2012

Offending democracy

Prime Minister's decision, announced on Xarabank yesterday, that in spite of loss of parliamentary legitimacy for his government he will not seek a vote of confidence, is democratically offencive.   His reference to Alfred Sant's gallant decision to go for elections, when Mintoff withdrew his support and removed his one seat parliamentary majority, as an error further shows Dr Gonzi has lost respect for basic democratic principles.

There is more reason for Dr Gonzi to seek a vote of confidence in parliament than was the case for Dr Sant.   Dr Sant had a 1st count vote majority of 8000 votes and should have had a 3 seat majority in parliament.   Dr Gonzi 1st count vote majority is only 1600 odd votes which is overstated by his one seat majority in parliament because, unlike shoe sizes, they don't come in halves.

When politicians put themselves above democratic principles and do so in name of the democracy itself than the situation becomes dangerous.   When politicians think themselves indispensable for the stability of the country, then they cross the line from democracy to dictatorship.

If in spite of the clear statement made again this morning again by Dr Franco Debono that he will not support a government led by Dr Gonzi, the Prime Minister refuses to behave gentlemanly and democratically in the footsteps of Alfred Sant, then he loses his democratic credentials.  If he persists the Opposition has the duty to request a vote of no confidence in the government and the President, as the guardian of the Constitution, has the duty to ensure that the Prime Minister, in the absence of a clear vote of confidence, either makes way for a new leader or dissolves parliament.

The alternatives are:

If Dr Gonzi wants to plod on he has to persuade Dr Debono to show support or at least abstain.

If this is not possible and the PN want to stay in government then Dr Gonzi has to make way for someone else whom Dr Debono may approve of.

If none of this is possible the President has to ask the Leader of the Opposition if he wishes to form a government which will have the support of the majority in parliament.  If this is not possible then the President has to ask Dr Debono if he wishes to try to lead such a government himself.

If none of this works then the electoral mandate needs to be refreshed through dissolution of parliament and  general elections. 

That's how democracy works and nobody, I repeat NOBODY,  is above it.

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