The Malta Independent 16 November 2018, Friday

TMID Editorial: May 2019 election - We want real MEPs

Wednesday, 5 September 2018, 10:20 Last update: about 3 months ago

Summer is drawing to a close, Parliament is set to resume at the start of October and we will soon find ourselves right in the middle of an election campaign.

It’s not that the hotter months have been quiet. There were years in the not too distant past when there was a complete lull, especially during the Santa Marija week, but this last decade or so it has never been quiet. Maybe it’s another effect of the expanding social media.

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Like all of Europe, Malta will be voting to elect its EP representatives for the next five years in the last week of May. So far, only one of the six current representatives has already declared that she will not be contesting – Marlene Mizzi. From the PN side, David Casa, Roberta Metsola and Francis Zammit Dimech will be on the ballot sheet while, at the Labour end, Miriam Dalli has said she will contest and Alfred Sant will announce his decision shortly.

Political parties are finalising their list of candidates, with many of the newcomers already making it publicly known that they will contest, while others are still to make it official. The parties will be making sure to have the right mix of individuals – age, gender and so on – so as to try to hit as many pockets of society as possible.

Candidates who might attract certain segments might be shunned by others, and this is why the parties are careful in the choices they make. They should not have too many, given the transferable vote system we have, so as to not to spread out the preferences more than necessary. Having too many candidates would mean that the party vote would be divided too much, with the risk that candidates from the same party are eliminated quickly.

But political parties would do well to not only look at finding an age-gender balance in the list of candidates they compile. They should pick candidates who are real politicians, those who can really represent their country in EP, those who will really be MEPs, and not people who are tempted by the perks, or who see only the glamorous side of the job.

Over the past weeks we have seen many putting their name forward and, frankly speaking, we can say it hand on heart that some of them should not have even considered the opportunity, let alone decide to contest. What is worse is that the political parties seem inclined to accept their nomination, given that the persons involved are already advertising themselves as candidates and missing no occasion in which they could be seen.

The official list of both the PL and the PN is still to be made known, so the parties are still in time to trim their list of candidates, leaving out those who do not have the best intentions (to put it mildly) or who, in our view, will not be capable of representing their country as they should.

The smaller political parties and individuals who are thinking about it should also take this advice. Malta needs people who represent it to the full, and not people who seek their personal interests or see the EP as an adventure. 

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