Can you recall how many times the PN has chosen to speak out, protest, criticize or offer better alternatives on any issue or concern related to a number of policies or sectors that impact the Malta’s economy, security, environment, health system and good governance, rule of law and international reputation?
Most likely it would just be the odd one out here and there and would just echo what another organization or pressure group has already expressed their opinion and position.
The Civil Society Network began protesting corruption after Daphne Caruana Galizia exposed the Panama Papers story. Since then, he has been at the forefront of issues relating to the rule of law, good governance and democracy, speaking primarily to young activists.
They were to be residents of Marsascala and representatives of a number of organizations who protested against the development of a marina in the bay of the locality. It was to be the Valletta Residents Revival Group who were the first to speak out against the late night music legal notice. It must have been activists led by Graffitti who showed up and removed the deckchairs taking over the tiny bay for the Blue Lagoon audience.
The primary role of the opposition is supposed to be to question the government of the day and hold it accountable to the public. It should also help correct the mistakes of the ruling party. The opposition is also responsible for defending the best interests of the people of the country.
However, there are many who believe that it is more virtuous to be a member of a civic organization than of the PN. There is a grave danger in such an approach. Strengthening the civil society network that represents the demand side of the political equation, without a parallel force from the PN as an opposition party, ultimately harms the democratic balance.
The PN has long been bogged down in internal conflict resolutions with no end in sight and is more preoccupied with its own survival. It somewhat denies its constitutional role and function to hold the government to account.
The political and democratic situation is worsening insofar as, whereas in a normal and democratic country, the government in place is supposed to govern, if not with full respect, at least in satisfactory conformity with the fundamental precepts of democracy, the good governance, the rule of law, justice and equality, in this tiny island country, the opposite has become the order of the day. An exceptional presumption has developed and continues to develop that the party in power governs in complete disregard of these precepts.
The collapse of the PN as an established party leaves democracy vulnerable to collapse-Mark says
Moreover, the civil society network has no parliamentary representation. Of course, the far-fetched accusation that civil society groups are partisan political actors disguised as non-partisan civic actors will always remain. They proclaim their nonpartisan credentials while ostensibly harboring former PN candidates and officials unhappy with the current PN leadership.
The current government denounces both the aims and methods of the civic groups as illegitimately political and presents any contact between the civic groups and the PN as proof of the accusation. Yet that does not make it a political movement any more than it does a civil society organization.
As a political party represented in parliament, the PN must be considered one of the children of democracy.
However, the civil society network is quickly becoming a privileged child of efforts to help and correct the shortcomings of democracy in Malta.
It extends, develops and builds on the ruins of a discredited PN. It may seem like a reasonable and necessary undertaking, but the almost exclusive focus on civil society goes beyond fashion. It threatens to become an obsession, a mantra.
The collapse of the PN as an established party makes democracy vulnerable to collapse. The PN is expected to step up the accountability of our elected leaders by strengthening formal checks and balances but, instead, we are seeing a relaxation of these efforts. It must have been the Repubblika that had come up with such laudable initiatives as how to reform the Maltese parliament, its response to the government’s proposals to the Venice Commission or its concept of a new Malta and a new republic.
As time passes and the situation within the PN remains constant, even regressing, we are witnessing a civil society that becomes even more essential in controlling the prerogative of state power and holding politicians accountable to social constituencies, especially between elections.
The PN must strive to regain its former strong and respectable position. This will restore the democratic balance. To do this, however, it must bring about a radical and total transformation.
From a weakly institutionalized party, often short-lived, with poorly articulated platforms, weak organization and lacking stable support bases, it must become an institutionalized party with solid and stable support bases, solid organizations and labels distinct and valuable to both voters. and candidates.
A tall order indeed.
Mark Said is a lawyer.
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