The Partit Laburista has called for the Maltese Electoral Commission to charter a plane to Cyprus in order to give the Maltese contingent to the (European) Small Nations Games the chance to vote. Essentially what the PL is requesting is that a whole plane is chartered so that not just the ballot box but also all the scrutinisors and representatives of major parties can be present when the athlete’s place their votes.
This is another step in the long-running charade that has as its main protagonists the two main parties in Malta - the PN (Nationalists) and the PL (Labour). In a country where every vote counts the scramble to ensure that every vote is cast is important. One of the worst kept secrets in Malta is the fact that both big parties keep databases about citizens and their voting allegiance (or tendency) in direct violation of privacy laws.
The Nationalist Party, always eager to appear the stalwart defender of democracy, has suggested altering the law in order to allow the athletic contingent to vote earlier. This would not be the first time that one of the two main parties tampers with voting laws in order to accomodate its short term aims. Labour seems to have abandoned its original support for this particular solution.
No mention has been made of the large contingent of Maltese based in Luxembourg, Brussels, Strasbourg and Frankfurt institutions. The Nationalist party only went so far as using this contingent in order to criticise the Labour “charter plane” solution by stating that this would be discriminatory against other voters living abroad.
Both parties have recently abandoned (or relaxed) their very democratic practise of applying electoral laws to the letter and challenging the right to vote of anyone who has not spent a substantial amount of the year preceding the election on the island. Their inability to agree on a viable solution for voters working abroad lies partly in Labour’s conviction that the majority of these expats would vote Nationalist.
A simple solution like a ballot booth at the Brussels Representation does not seem to be considered. Internet voting, as any reader could imagine, is still light years away. So long as PLPN can continue their tango!
This post appears on J’accuse.