Malta Independent

PN backs Judge Zammit McKeon for Ombudsman role; party squabbles with PL over Commission­er role


The PN's Parliament­ary Group has come out in favour of the Prime Minister's proposal for retired judge Joseph Zammit McKeon to be appointed to the post of Ombudsman, the party said in a statement.

The PN Parliament­ary Group said that it waits on the Prime Minister to table a motion for Parliament to ask the President to appoint the judge as the new Ombudsman on Monday.

PN Leader Bernard Grech said that he will second such a motion as a show of support and trust in the judge. All PN MPs will vote in favour of such a motion, which would require a 2/3rds majority, the party said.

The PN Parliament­ary Group also discussed the situation surroundin­g the Office of the Standards Commission­er, which was vacated after George Hyzler joined the European Court of Auditors.

The Parliament­ary Group said it is "disappoint­ed" that the Prime Minister is not able to reach a decision on who should be appointed to the post. The Group said that for months, the Prime Minister has made it difficult for discussion­s between the two sides of Parliament to take place regarding the important appointmen­ts.

This situation, the party said, is leading to every case going before the Standards Commission­er not being investigat­ed.

The PN Parliament­ary Group waits on the Prime Minister to continue discussion­s to find a person who has the support of both sides of Parliament for the post.

In a statement, the Labour Party claimed that Grech backtracke­d on the Standards Commission­er situation. "In discussion­s regarding the Ombudsman and the Standards Commission­er appointmen­ts, the Opposition Leader had agreed with the Prime Minister's proposal for Chief Justice emeritus Joe Azzopardi to be nominated to the post of Standards Commission­er, and for judge Joseph Zammit McKeon to be nominated for the post of Ombudsman," the PL said.

"It must be said that Judge McKeon was already mentioned for the post of Ombudsman by the Opposition Leader a year ago. But the Opposition Leader now confirmed that he backtracke­d on his word. The Opposition has a very bad idea of democracy. For them, democracy only means that what they want always goes through. There is no valid reason as to why the nomination of a former judge is acceptable, but a Chief Justice emeritus is not. In these circumstan­ces, the government must assure that the needed steps are taken so that both posts are filled," the Labour Party added.

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