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28/01/2012 - 21:35

Malta news: voting consequence

Malta news: voting consequence - Franco Debono tight-lipped as government keeps people guessing - Finance chiefs reassure CEOs over European crisis - Another body found in cruise liner wreck, pumping of fuel suspended - Will it be election or compromise?

Malta news: voting consequence
Franco Debono tight-lipped as government keeps people guessing
The Opposition’s motion of no-confidence, having been defeated, did nothing to bring about the much needed political stability, and people have been left wondering how long the government can possibly hang on to power. Disgruntled Nationalist MP Franco Debono, who abstained in Thursday’s vote on the no-confidence motion, refused to give any comments when contacted yesterday, but his message is, by now, crystal clear. Dr Debono’s abstention meant that there were 34 votes in favour of the motion and 34 against, and the Speaker used the casting vote to defeat the motion. According to constitutional law expert Austin Bencini, the Speaker “wanted to make things more clear.” “Irrespective of whether the casting vote was necessary or superfluous, in the event of a vote on a motion of no-confidence, a majority is required, meaning that it cannot go through with less than 35 votes,” said Dr Bencini. And former Nationalist MP Frank Portelli said during a television programme on Thursday that the Speaker is an active member of parliament, meaning that there are currently 70 MPs, not 69.(independent.com.mt)

Finance chiefs reassure CEOs over European crisis
Leading finance chiefs sought to reassure anxious global business leaders on Friday that Europe is on track to solve its crippling debt crisis before it drags the world’s economies down. Europe’s top banker said investors, burned after trusting the region’s governments too much, now trust them too little. The finance chiefs said the picture in Europe has changed over the past two months as the European Central Bank has loaned billions of euros to fragile banks, indebted countries have pushed through convincing reforms and EU leaders have come near to building a closer fiscal union that would make their common currency stronger. Several also signaled yesterday that Greece is close to clinching a crucial debt-reduction deal with private bondholders — a key element in Europe’s efforts to stem a two-year debt crisis that is causing ripples around the globe. The crisis is a central topic at the World Economic Forum, a gathering of government and business leaders at the Swiss ski resort of Davos. “They’re making progress on reforms, they’re changing the institutions of Europe to put better discipline on fiscal policy,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. “You have three new governments doing some very tough things. You have an ECB doing what central banks have to do. You see them move to try to strengthen the financial sector.” Mario Draghi, head of the European Central Bank, said a combination of actions — including super-cheap, long-term loans to shaky banks on the continent and a couple of interest rate cuts — have turned the crisis around.(independent.com.mt)

Another body found in cruise liner wreck, pumping of fuel suspended
Heavy weather forced salvage crews to suspend pumping thousands of tonnes of fuel from the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship today, though recovery operations continued and divers found another body. With waves reaching more than one metre (over three feet) in height, technicians from the Dutch salvage company Smit and Italy's Neri said it was too dangerous to start siphoning off an estimated 2,380 tonnes of fuel from the tanks of the Concordia, which ran aground January 13. Salvage workers on Friday attached valves to six of the stricken vessel's 23 tanks as part of the first phase of operations. It was unclear how long the delay would last, with weather forecasts showing worsening conditions Sunday.(timesofmalta.com)

Will it be election or compromise?
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi risks riding into political oblivion and condemning the Nationalist Party to years in Opposition if he goes to the polls with a divided party, according to former PN president Frank Portelli. “Compromise might be a better solution,” Dr Portelli told The Times yesterday, 24 hours after the government survived a no-confidence motion in Parliament but lost the support of one of its backbenchers. Thursday’s events have left people wondering what the next step will be and whether an election is the only way out of the political impasse that has developed. Franco Debono, the PN backbencher at the centre of the maelstrom, has gone silent after delivering a speech of one hour and 10 minutes on Wednesday outlining his complaints about the government. “I have no comment to make. What I had to say I said in Parliament and the media over the past weeks,” he sressed when contacted yesterday, hinting that the ball was now in the Prime Minister’s court. Soon after the vote, Dr Gonzi said he would find a solution within the PN’s internal structures. A party general council will be held tomorrow but the solution has yet to be spelt out.(timesofmalta.com)

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