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'Something is truly rotten in the state of Malta', NGOs lament

Call on president to head constitutional reform

Expect better from the institutions, NGOs said.

Expect better from the institutions, NGOs said.

The national crisis Malta is facing today is the direct and predictable result of a series of strategic moves that have, over time, violated the fundamental elements of democracy and the rule of law, three NGOs have argued.

Successive governments and parliaments have retained and strengthened existing power structures with the main aim of "self-preservation, obscuring the lines separating the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government".

Aditus Foundation, Integra Foundation and The Critical Institute insisted they were vehemently not aligned to any of the political parties.

"Although significant strides have certainly been made, we remain extremely concerned at two deeply institutionalised conditions that, if left unchecked, will not only prevent Malta from achieving its full national potential but will also fuel extremely serious levels of community mistrust, hatred and poverty," a statement signed by the three NGOs said.

They said Malta's governance institutions are largely failing to fulfill their roles of preventing and addressing abuses of political and administrative power. It is "shameful" that the entities entrusted by the nation to ensure justice, fairness, efficiency and democratic process – the public service, the judiciary, administrative tribunals, the police and armed forces, and state agencies – are consistently used as extensions of political party clubs or recruitment agencies.

Competence, experience, and expertise are seemingly irrelevant, when compared to voting preferences

"Competence, experience, and expertise are seemingly irrelevant when compared to voting preferences, family connections, and personal friendships. These appointments, blatantly based on favouritism, deny access to an effective justice system, to protection from law enforcement agencies and to an efficient public service."

Malta's educational institutions have failed to create a nation that actively questions, that is not complacent in the face of impunity, the NGOs said.

The values underpinning successful democracies – critical thought, active citizenship, mutual learning and understanding, social responsibility, community cohesion and human rights – have long been absent from school, college and university curricula and methodologies.

They urged the President to offer her offices for the implementation of a true constitutional reform, with strong and independent democratic institutions that are capable of effectively ensuring the rule of law and respect for fundamental human rights.

The NGOs also called on individuals and communities to avoid complacency and to expect more and better from any government of the day and from Parliament, to require from them the most impeccable conduct and, where this fails, to insist on their immediate resignation or removal.

"While we are aware of the probability that this message may, contrary to our intent, be read in red, blue, orange or green, or that it could be misconstrued by those having ideologies to the left or right of our own, we nonetheless stand firmly by our assertion that something is truly rotten in the state of Malta."

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