Thursday, 21 June 2012

Parliament no longer supreme

I don't know if it was a correct procedure for parliament to take a vote of no confidence in a non-politician, an ambassador, a government functionary.

If I were the Minister responsible for such functionary I would have objected to the vote and insisted that the vote of no confidence be taken on the functionary's political master, the minister, as ultimately it is the minister that has political responsibility for the actions of his subordinates.   That is the practice all over the world of parliamentary democracies.

But once parliament went ahead and decided there was no confidence in such functionary, in this case Malta's ambassador to the EU or technically Malta's permanent representative for the EU, who through ad hoc arrangements also attends cabinet meetings but has no vote at the table, what parliament decided has to be noted and adopted.

Firstly by the Minister concerned, in this case the Prime Minister or the Minister of Foreign Affairs ( it is not clear to whom the Perm Rep is politically responsible whether to the Minister of Foreign Affairs like all other ambassadors or to the Prime Minister given the special status of the EU which is not a foreign country and the fact that the person concerned has a permanent seat at the cabinet table by the invitation of the Prime Minister) accepting political responsibility for their subordinate and resign.   Remember Profumo?   Remember Willy Brandt?.

Secondly by having the Perm Rep immediately vacating his position once he is operating without the confidence of parliament, the highest institution of the country.

Yet in Malta not only nobody takes political responsibility for parliament's thumb's down, but the functionary is invited to stay in position for some more time until a replacement could be found.   And if not found?  

This is taunting the authority of Parliament.

Why is this functionary so special?   Why has the PN forced ex - Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici to resign immediately after parliamentary no-confidence vote but for RCC different rules apply?   Why did the  PN  not issue a statement of condemnation to Franco Debono when he voted with the Opposition in case of CMB's vote of no confidence but soon issued such statement of condemnation against Pullicino Orlando, Mugliett and of course had to include Debono but only after RCC's vote where after all Debono voted with the government?

There is something so special about RCC which lends credence to those who always argued that he is really the power behind the throne.   And that is not the right spirit for a proper democracy.

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