10 gov­ern­ment min­is­ters in court­room for par­lia­men­tary seats ap­peal hear­ing

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE -

In a com­pletely un­prece­dented move, no less than ten Cab­i­net min­is­ters showed up in court yes­ter­day to hear an ap­peal by the Labour Party in the par­lia­men­tary seats saga.

These were Jus­tice Min­is­ter Owen Bon­nici, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ed­ward Sci­cluna, Health Min­is­ter Chris Fearne, Econ­omy Min­is­ter Chris Car­dona, Tourism Min­is­ter Ed­ward Zam­mit Lewis, En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Jose Her­rera, Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Carmelo Abela and par­lia­men­tary sec­re­taries Chris Agius, Deb­o­rah Schem­bri and Rod­er­ick Galdes.

Not all the min­is­ters who were present are di­rectly af­fected by the pos­si­ble out­come of the case.

It is very un­usual for such a large num­ber of Cab­i­net min­is­ters to turn up for a court sit­ting. The move is be­ing in­ter­preted by some within the Na­tion­al­ist Party as an at­tempt at in­tim­i­da­tion.

The PL had crit­i­cised the PN for show­ing up in force to sup­port for­mer min­is­ter Ja­son Az­zopardi in a crim­i­nal li­bel case ear­lier this year and ac­cused it of try­ing to in­tim­i­date the courts.

Shadow Min­is­ter for Jus­tice Ja­son Az­zopardi said it was un­ac­cept­able for a Jus­tice Min­is­ter to be present “to ex­ert pres­sure on the Con­sti­tu­tional Court.”

PN Leader Si­mon Busut­til was also present for to­day’s hear­ing.

Back in May of this year, Madam Jus­tice Lor­raine Schem­bri Or­land had ruled that the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion should rec­tify the mis­takes that had been made dur­ing the vote­count­ing process and award two ad­di­tional seats to the Na­tion­al­ist Party. The PL ap­pealed and the case is now be­ing heard be­fore three judges.

The PN in­sists that it lost the elec­tion by seven par­lia­men­tary seats, not nine, and that this was a re­sult of two mis­takes on vote­count­ing day. It says that PN can­di­dates Claudette But­tigieg and Fred­er­ick Az­zopardi failed to be elected on the eighth and 13th dis­tricts re­spec­tively due to er­rors in the count­ing process.

For­mer PL Deputy Leader Toni Abela is no longer rep­re­sent­ing the PL in the ex­tra seats case – lawyers Paul Lia and Robert Abela are.

The case has been put off for judge­ment on 7 Novem­ber.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.