The least it (PN) could do in the circumstances is refrain from pontificating on principle when it is clear to everyone outside the party that it is just doing whatever it takes to hold together its delicate parliamentary majority. This is a classic case of political expediency. Not to mention inconsistency. As a number of commentators have pointed out, how can a party that says it believes in the family structure and the permanency of marriage so readily legitimise cohabitation? How can it in conscience give its MPs a free vote? How can it not seek to amend legislation enacted in 1976 which allows Maltese to obtain a divorce abroad and then remarry in
I actually have more respect for those who voted No (parlament) than I do for those who left the chamber before the vote. But still I disagree with them, and I do so passionately and wholeheartedly. I disagree with them not only because their stance is utterly anti-democratic – why hold a referendum if you personally are not prepared to respect the outcome, leaving it up to others to do so? – but also because they do not hang themselves alone. They hang the Nationalist Party with them. To see the prime minister and his cabinet, with the exception of Joe Cassar, Mario Demarco and Chris Said, vote against the bill was sad indeed, though entirely expected. They look like stuffed dinosaurs from another era already at this point. The feeling I get when looking at them is the feeling I used to get some 15 to 20 years ago, looking at the Nationalist ministers who had been familiar faces to me since my childhood in the 1970s – an ‘end of an era, enough is enough’ feeling, the sort of feeling that tells you it’s time to move on. All they needed to knock another nail in the coffin of public perception was to vote the way they did. It’s over for them now and they know it. If they don’t move on as individuals, the electorate will move the entire party on and away from the seat of government. This is because the Nationalist Party has sold itself over the last couple of generations as the party of the new, the party of the forward-looking, the party of democracy and of individual dignity and liberty. And here its biggest and most senior cheeses are today, voting against the clear mandate of the electorate. It’s disgraceful, but they don’t see it that way. It’s all about conscience, a conscience that tells them to override and overrule a decision they themselves have asked the people to take for them. What about all the people who voted No in the referendum, the prime minister and others asked? We have to respect the minority. But that is what divorce is all about, isn’t it – respecting the minority who wish to divorce. The minority who don’t wish them to divorce just don’t come into it at all. Whether Mr and Mrs Zammit divorce is not the prime minister’s business and it is their decision to take and not the prime minister’s. But I’m not going to flog that dead old horse anymore. With their vote, the prime minister and his cabinet, bar those exceptions, have marked themselves out as the past. They are the ghosts at the feast already, and the party still has two years to play on. The tragic thing is that they have lost their authority, undermined their credibility and harmed their own standing, when they could have regained much lost ground and status by saying ‘I respect the will of the people. I will vote Yes.’ The prime minister and those who think as he does clearly do not understand that even people who voted No in the referendum prize democracy and understand that a No vote in parliament now is a two-fingered salute to all that. They understand – not all of them, for sure, but several to whom I have spoken – that you do not hold a referendum and then carry on regardless of the understanding that others in parliament will do your job for you and vote Yes. The prime minister has every right to behave as he pleases as an ordinary MP, but he is no ordinary MP. When he commits political suicide, he takes his party with him.
Daphne Caruana Galizia, The
I believe that Dr Gonzi’s (divorce) no vote in Parliament is the biggest mistake he has done so far as Prime Minister.
Michael Briguglio chairman of Alternattiva Demokratika, The Times 22.7.2011
25 ta’ Lulju 2011Il-Ligi tad-Divorzju tghaddi mill-Parlament imma …
11 il-Deputat Nazzjonalista ivvutaw kontra l-ligi minkejja li l-maggoranza assoluta tal-votanti Maltin approvaw id-dhul tad-divorzju fir-referendum. Il-11 il-traditur li sfidaw l-elettorat kienu:
Beppe Fenech Adami
Carm Mifsud Bonncici