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