Historian Henry Frendo suggests that the Nationalist Party executive can do little more than prevent dissenting MPs from contesting on party’s ticket again. Keith Micallef reports According to historian Prof. Henry Frendo, the current political situation, though unusual, is not unprecedented in Maltese political history. He describes the rift between a number of PN backbenchers and the party leadership as a sign of the times, with MPs taking the liberty to dissent with the party on certain issues as it is often the case abroad. On the other hand, he points out that throughout the political crisis the dissenting MPs have always pledged their loyalty to the party, in the eventuality of a confidence vote. The only exception was last January when the government had a close shave after backbencher Franco Debono abstained, and the government survived with the Speaker’s casting vote. Asked by The Malta Independent for his comments about the current political situation, Prof. Frendo also shared his views on the possible outcome of next Thursday’s meeting of the PN executive. On Sunday, the Prime Minister declared that this will be the stage for important decisions and those dissenting MPs who did not toe the party line and voted with the Opposition, ousting former Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici and Malta’s EU ambassador Richard Cachia Caruana, will have to face the consequences.(independent.com.mt) Henry Frendo has probablemenrt reason.
Food prices, quality of particular importance to Maltese consumers
For EU citizens, both quality and price tend to be important factors when buying food and these considerations are of particular importance to Maltese people as 89% regard price is important while 86% believe quality is a priority. The European average stands at 91% for price while 65% say food quality is very important for them, according to a Eurobarometer survey entitled Europeans’ Attitudes towards Food Security, Food Quality and the Countryside, published on Friday. Meanwhile, only a minority of EU citizens recognise any of the logos introduced by the EU to ensure the quality and origin of certain types of food products. The report explains that EU citizens clearly understand that food security is a global issue, with a large majority expressing concern at the challenge of feeding the world’s population. However, concern about the sufficiency of food production in the EU is driven more by respondents’ assessments of the sufficiency of food production in their own country than by a general perception of food insecurity. The highest proportion of respondents who always check labels can be found in Italy (35%), Malta (34%) and Romania (33%). But when statistics for those who sometimes check for labels are included, Finland, Sweden (both 82%) and Ireland (80%) have the highest proportion of respondents. In almost all member states, two-thirds (66%) or more of those polled agree that agriculture benefits the environment. The exceptions are in countries with a lot of greenery – the Netherlands, where 53% agree, and Denmark, where a minority (43%) of respondents agree. Levels of agreement are especially high in Cyprus, where almost all (99%) respondents agree, and in Malta (96%) and Portugal (95%) that agriculture is important for the environment. Again, 96% of Maltese respondents believe that agriculture contributes to the beauty of the countryside. Aside from in Germany (73%) and Denmark (75%), four-fifths (80%) or more of those surveyed agree with this statement, and in 20 of 27 member states levels of agreement are above the EU average of 86%.(independent.com.mt) needless to say.
House adjourned to October 1 - Electoral Law reforms rushed through
The House of Representatives was this evening adjourned to October 1. The adjournment motion was moved by Foreign Minister Tonio Borg, Leader of the House, who wished a happy summer to all MPs. Earlier today, reforms to the Electoral Law were rushed through parliament with approval by both sides. The amendments started being debated late yesterday and were approved this evening. They provide, among other things, for a rolling electoral register and voting in hospitals and homes for the elderly. The rolling register means that all those who turn 18 up to a few days before election date will be able to vote. The Bill was moved by Justice Minster Chris Said and was today approved on second reading, committee and third reading. Dr Said the amendments would mean less hardship to hospital patients and residents of old people's homes and fewer logistical worries for the staff. He said that the introduction of the rolling register would mean that the number of voters would rise by some 2,700 young people.(timesofmalta.com) It will take everyone studied the issue.