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Sunday, June 27, 2004

Who benefits from electoral reform in Malta?

I was delighted to read in today's news that Malta's Green Party (Alternattiva Demokratika) has requested the other two political parties in Malta to hold discussions on electoral reform. I was equally pleased to see that both the PN and the MLP have already expressed interest in discussing such reforms.

In the light of the huge support the Green Party received from voters in the recent European Parliament and Local Council elections, it stands to reason that the current electoral system is not adequate in reflecting a democratic representation of the people's current will. I've been perplexed for many years as to why Malta still uses a system inherited from the British colonial days, when the system is not even used in Britain any more!

Let's hope that the PN sees this as an opportunity to gain the credibility it clearly lost in this year's elections. And let's also hope that the MLP is still jubilant by what it considers to be its natural drive towards a huge victory in the next general elections. In these respective frames-of-mind, both major parties are perhaps at the most advantageous position in considering electoral reform, which can give 10% or so of the Maltese population the right to be represented in parliament, both nationally and on the continental level.

If the ultimate question is who benefits from electoral reform in Malta, I would say that it is everyone. I say this without hesitation or partisan sentiment because I strongly believe that when minority voices are heard loud and clear, democracy is broadened. The broader the sense of democracy is in any society, the more pleasant it is to live within its fold.

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