PN takes Electoral Commission case before the Constitutional Court citing breach of rights
The Nationalist Party has referred its complaint about the Electoral Commission investigating alleged breaches in the party financing law by the same party and Silvio Debono’s db Group to the courts in order to determine whether there has been a breach of the Constitution.
In a press release, the PN said that it has taken such action after “clear” declarations made by legal experts and members of the Electoral Commission itself.
The PN said it has also taken such action in the light of a recent decision taken by the Constitutional Court, having a direct effect on the Party Financing law, where it made clear that only a court of law can pass judgment of the impartiality of such a decision.
The Party Financing law refers to a set of legislation regulating political parties and donations, it dictates, for example, that no single person or entity can donate more than €25,000 in a given financial year.
“For the PN, it is not acceptable that the Electoral Commission is both the investigator and the judge for the same case, more so due to the majority of members on the Electoral Commission being nominated by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, and therefore votes in the interest of Dr Muscat. This means that the Electoral Commission process is compromised because the conclusion is clear before it began.
“The PN had already warned, during the parliamentary debate on the party financing law, that the Electoral Commission can never be the judge of cases about this law because it is not an impartial entity, in accordance with law.
“Despite this, government rode roughshod over the concerns and implemented the law with the current shortcomings”.
It has called for any investigation to be professional and impartial, and concluded by saying that it has requested the Courts to determine whether the Electoral Commission investigation is in breach of fundamental human rights due to a lack of impartiality.
Busuttil fails to return db Group money, Bonnici alleges
In reaction, the Labour Party said that the PN should not attack the Electoral Commission.
“Those who have nothing to hide are not scared of judgement,” Justice Minister Owen Bonnici said in a press conference.
“Simon Busuttil has also said that he would return the money donated by db Group but he did not,” Dr Bonnici added.
Accompanying Dr Bonnici, Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said that the db Group saga starts and ends with Simon Busuttil. “The case against the Electoral Commission is the PN’s attempt to buy time,” he concluded.