Mar­lene Far­ru­gia says Clerk of the House re­ply to re­quests on speak­ing slot, funds ‘den­i­grat­ing’

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Kevin Schem­bri Or­land

Leader of the Par­tit Demokratiku Mar­lene Far­ru­gia said she re­ceived a “den­i­grat­ing re­ply” from the Clerk of the House to a re­quest she made to ob­tain a por­tion of the funds al­lo­cated to po­lit­i­cal par­ties and to be given time to speak dur­ing a visit by Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Pres­i­dent Martin Schulz.

She was told she would need to sort out her al­lo­cated speak­ing pe­riod in Par­lia­ment dur­ing an of­fi­cial visit by Mr Schulz with Op­po­si­tion Whip David Agius, and not with the Speaker of the House.

Dr Far­ru­gia re­quested that, when Mr Schulz is re­ceived in Par­lia­ment on 8 De­cem­ber, she is al­lo­cated a time slot to speak as the lead­ers of the other two par­lia­men­tary par­ties.

The Clerk of the House, in re­sponse, did not al­lo­cate her a time slot, but rather rec­om­mended that she speak with PN Whip David Agius so that to­gether, they can come to an agree­ment re­gard­ing the time that should be al­lo­cated for her in­ter­ven­tion, with the time be­ing taken from the amount al­lo­cated to the Op­po­si­tion.

The Clerk added that this is in line with the Constitution, where there is one per­son ap­pointed as Op­po­si­tion Leader.

In the let­ter, Dr Far­ru­gia also re­quested that her party re­ceive a por­tion of the amount al­lo­cated in the 2017 bud­get which nor­mally goes to govern­ment and the Op­po­si­tion, given that she is the leader of a po­lit­i­cal party in Par­lia­ment.

How­ever rather than be­ing al­lo­cated her share, Clerk of the House Ray­mond Sci­cluna said that PD Leader Mar­lene Far­ru­gia forms part of the Op­po­si­tion, and that when the funds were al­lo­cated for the first time through a let­ter dated 5 Septem­ber 1995, penned by for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Ed­die Fenech Adami to then Speaker of the House Lawrence Gonzi, it was made clear that the funds were to be di­vided be­tween govern­ment and the Op­po­si­tion, and not po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

“As such, with re­gards to your re­quest (for the PD to get a share of the funds al­lo­cated each year to govern­ment and the op­po­si­tion), the Speaker of the House is of the opin­ion that if the party you are re­fer­ring to is reg­is­tered ac­cord­ing to law, and as long as le­gal and con­sti­tu­tional ques­tions do not arise re­gard­ing the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of this party in Par­lia­ment, your re­quested al­lo­cated amount would need to come from the funds taken by the Op­po­si­tion”.

Dr Far­ru­gia said that the Speaker of the House did not even have the de­cency to re­spond to her him­self, and that the tone was dis­re­spect­ful to­wards the Par­tit Demokratiku. She also said it shows the lack of will by the Speaker of the House to pro­tect mi­nor par­ties in Par­lia­ment.

Pho­to­graph: AP

Pi­geons fly around Boud­hanath Stupa that was opened to the public yes­ter­day af­ter restora­tion in Kathmandu, Nepal, yes­ter­day. A year and a half af­ter a colos­sal earthquake de­stroyed hun­dreds of its trea­sured his­toric sites, Nepal cel­e­brated the restora­tion of the iconic Bud­dhist mon­u­ment topped in gold that tow­ers above Kathmandu.

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