Is the chapter closed?
We have recently followed yet another test for the government, a vote of confidence in Parliament. The government was given some oxygen to help it in its struggle to ‘’govern’’ until the end of this legislature.
There is no doubt that this vote needs to be analysed within the context of the events that took place in the political arena over these last six months. During this period, three votes of confidence (or of “no confidence”) were taken in Parliament and, in one of them, the government was saved by the Speaker’s casting vote. There was also the vote in favour of the opposition’s motion and saw the former Minister of Justice and Home Affairs resigning.
One must take into consideration the fact that, during these last months, several members of the Nationalist Party took stands, in relation to particular issues, that were opposed to those of the government.
In some cases, these members publicly and heavily criticised the way the government is operating.
Keeping these factors in mind, one has no other option but to doubt what the Prime Minister said after the last vote of confidence, that is, that the chapter is closed and that the government led by him will carry on.
The recent past shows us that such a vote will not solve this government’s problems because the government cannot be confident that it has a strong parliamentary majority enabling it to take important decisions in the near future.
The chapter is not closed.
A few months ago, the Prime Minister himself sought a vote of confidence which is clear, durable and without conditions. A few weeks later, a parliamentary resolution passed only because one of the main ministers of the government resigned.
This is not being pointed out only for the sake of criticising the government but because the Maltese political scenario is not sending the right message to investors, both local and foreign.
The way things are being managed, or rather mismanaged, by the government could discourage potential investors. Such investors cannot feel confident in investing in our country because, at the moment, we lack a government that, in times of need, is capable of taking critical decisions without delay.
GonziPN is trying every tactic to distract people’s attention from the political crisis in which it found itself in and focuses its rhetoric on vote-catching matters gearing it up for election mode.
The weakness of this government is made worse if one also considers the international crisis, where there is need of a strong government that can face problems such as the declared economic recession of a few days ago. The constant fear of this government that one or more of its own MPs might take a strong stand against it, weakens this government and makes it afraid of taking decisions and, instead, focusing on compromise.
I am very eager to see how the Prime Minister will tackle the deficiencies related to the Home Affairs Ministry, which he has taken over, and which were mentioned in the motion in Parliament. These include the situation at the Corradino Correctional Facility and the recent incident at the Gozo law courts, which could have easily been avoided if prompt action were taken at the appropriate time.
The Prime Minister said nothing in this regard and one hopes that he will take steps in order to rectify such deficiencies and not act as though the chapter is closed and, therefore, no action needs to be taken.
The same can be said about issues within the Ministry of Justice, which issues were also tackled by the same motion. The debate highlighted the points that need to be improved within the Justice Ministry without delay. There were various, very important issues, which were debated in Parliament but were overshadowed by high tension that was provoked by the debate itself and, naturally, by the resignation of the minister.
Following the motion in Parliament, the Labour Party was very cautious in its post-mortem. In in its editorial of May 31, that is, a day after the last vote of confidence, The Times was clear that the only solution for this country to move forward is an election.
In my opinion, the last vote in Parliament did not do anything to improve this precarious political situation. It is only by calling an election that a strong government can be re-established, which can then face an economic recession if need be.
In view of this, I have serious reservations whether this chapter is actually closed. I doubt whether the Prime Minister really believes and thinks that he has the full and unconditional backing of all his MPs, even if he did win the vote in numerical terms. My guess is that GonziPN does not feel ready to face the polls and it is only this factor and the scare of losing the next election that is its main focus. Only time will tell!
This article was written before Monday’s vote.