Addressing a sizeable crowd gathered at the Luxol Grounds, Pembroke in a highly charged atmosphere reminiscent of a full swing electoral campaign, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi yesterday demanded the unconditional backing of all 35 government MPs in tonight’s vote of confidence. The confidence vote was requested by Dr Gonzi himself following the vote in favour of Dr Carm Mifsud Bonnici’s resignation last Wednesday. In a brief address which lasted only 30 minutes, Dr Gonzi sounded upbeat and rallied the troops for today’s confidence vote - the third one in a space of eight months, which is nothing short of extraordinary for a country so alien to the notion of unstable governments, at least in the post Independence period. Unlike the vote of no-confidence of January, the Prime Minister is now openly declaring that he will not be satisfied with relying on the speaker’s casting vote. This may be interpreted as the PM attempting to pile pressure on PN backbencher Franco Debono to support the government, or as the PM already being certain of Dr Debono’s support. Contacted by The Malta Independent with reference to the Prime Minister’s earlier remarks, Dr Debono reiterated his stance that he was excluding the option of voting against the government, but refused to divulge whether he is going to abstain or support the government. Though the Prime Minister was the only speaker, almost all members of Cabinet and government MPs were present in a clear declaration of solidarity with Dr Gonzi and former Minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici.(independent.com.mt) It is normal that government institutions is integral.
PM trying to paper over the cracks – Muscat
Opposition Leader Joseph Muscat declared yesterday that Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi had raised the stakes when declaring that this time around, he would not be content with anything short of a clear majority in parliament. At the same time, he said that the political crisis is here to stay, describing the Prime Minister’s request for tonight’s vote of confidence as a way of trying to paper over the cracks. Dr Muscat said that from now onwards, the Opposition will adopt the same benchmark as the Prime Minister, thus treating any government’s reliance on the Speaker’s casting vote as a failure to secure a majority. Speaking in Santa Lucija yesterday morning, Dr Muscat claimed that the PN is already planning a series of measures that will place an even greater burden on the middle class, but is keeping such measures close to its chest for obvious reasons as the election is looming. Dr Muscat claimed that a new PN government will increase once again the retirement age as soon as it is elected stating that the government had already agreed with the EU to take this step. On the other hand the PL will fund and sustain the welfare system primarily by stimulating economic growth and ensuring that everyone gets a fair share according to the principles of social justice.(independent.com.mt) A breach in a building is never good.
Debono: I am ready to help the PM bring about reform
Nationalist MP Franco Debono insisted in parliament this evening that he was prepared to help the prime minister bring about the reforms which everybody agreed about. Speaking in parliament during the confidence debate, Dr Debono said he and his family had made sacrifices in order to promote constitution reform and reform in justice and home affairs. "I wish to offer my help to the prime minister if he is committed to bringing about these reforms," Dr Debono said. This offer, the Nationalist MP said, was not anything new. He had repeatedly offered to help, as was evidenced by his speeches and motions in parliament over the past four years. What had happened on Wednesday, Dr Debono said, re-established parliament as the highest institution in the land. This country was not run by blogs but by its representative parliament. Unfortunately because proper laws had not been enacted, some people had attempted to destroy others, but they would not succeed. This should not be taking place, certainly not with the blessing of the prime minister. Dr Debono said that jobs were important but dignity was even more important. A job was a right. Ability without opportunity was a wasted talent. He wanted to see a society based on merit where people got what they deserved. He hoped, Dr Debono said, that a lesson had been learnt. He had made a lot of personal sacrifice - and then people said he was doing this for himself. How was he doing this for himself when he had ended up with the police behind his door? (timesofmalta.com) If everyone agrees why not make the reforms?