Doing the right thing
For all intents and purposes, Partit Demokratiku submitted its second motion for a vote of no confidence in Konrad Mizzi, the first one having been tabled by Marlene Farrugia in 2016.
Mr Alden is Deputy Leader of Partit Demokratiku
It has become clear to both sides that Konrad Mizzi has become an anchor dragging the country down. On the most basic imaginable level, the report released by the National Audit Office leaves no ambiguity that Konrad Mizzi should resign. Considering the contents of the report, he is either corrupt or incompetent: it has to be one or the other. Either of these possibilities oblige him to lose a vote of no confidence.
Many in the Labour Party have become completely fed with of their work, reputation and aspirations being undermined by Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri. While they may not have broken rank in a vote of no confidence, in any case, let us remember that both Godfrey Farrugia and Marlene Farrugia were Labour MPs. I find it very strange that people expect Labour MPs to speak up at this late stage, yet these same people will attack both Partit Demokratiku MPs for not fitting their narrative well enough.
If one expects Labour MPs to stand up and be counted, do not forget that it has already happened. If they are treated with disrespect for their sacri- fice, then do not expect MPs in either the Nationalist Party or the Labour Party to feel comfortable doing the right thing. To date, only the Partit Demokratiku MPs have consistently championed good governance in this legislature, in constant consultation with experts on the rule of law. Unfortunately, the Nationalist Party could not afford to let Partit Demokratiku take the lead this week and, with no prior warning, tanked the motion of no confidence in Parliament, despite growing discomfort inside the Labour Party.
Let me therefore address the actions of the Nationalist Party leadership this week. This week, it attempted to win back anti-corruption votes by submitting a bill focused on the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. This action did not serve to undermine the government or put pressure on Konrad Mizzi. The very same day that the Nationalist Party ignored the motion for a vote of no confidence, the National Audit Office released its report, which further damns Konrad Mizzi. Through its strategic decisions, the Nationalist Party has strengthened the government’s hand. If nothing else, the vote of no confidence was serving as a platform to further pressure the government.
When Partit Demokratiku pointed out that this was a poor strategic move, taking pressure away from the government, some personalities chose to bite back by trying to undermine the integrity of Godfrey Farrugia. They point to his vote in 2016. Yet, if Godfrey Farrugia felt he had anything to hide in his track record, he would not have submitted this motion of no confidence in the first place. Godfrey Farrugia is confident because he attempted to change the Labour Party from the inside, while calling for the resignation of Konrad Mizzi.
When attempts to reform the Labour Party from within failed, he did not cross the floor to a comfortable alternative in the Nationalist Party. Instead, he chose the hardest possible route, and the one most crucial for the health of the country, and championed a third party. He walked away from comfort and power into the unknown, because it was the right thing to do.
The easiest thing that Godfrey Farrugia could have done would have been to stay silent, like other MPs, and rake in the goodies that come with loyalty. However, that is not something that the critics on either side of the house will pause to consider. Critics will not consider that their own MPs, on both sides, refuse to speak up about the corruption in their own parties and prefer to close blind eyes. Instead, they look to take slices of a story in isolation, and out of context.
To date, only Godfrey Farrugia and Marlene Farrugia have had the courage to do the impossible – to fight as the first third party in Parliament since Independence for the sake of a healthier democracy. Godfrey Farrugia is proof, through the story of the past years, that trying to fix a party from the inside is not as effective as joining a fresh, clean, national movement. If the goal is to create a safer, more dynamic and more democratic Malta, then one is not going to get there inside the existing system. We need a fresh start and that is why Partit Demokratiku will continue to champion a people’s convention for any amendments to our Constitution.