The Malta Independent 26 May 2019, Sunday

Make Venice Commission report a blueprint for reformed Maltese constitution – PD

Sunday, 16 December 2018, 10:22 Last update: about 6 months ago

The Venice Commission report on Malta should not be shelved but should rather be used as a blueprint for Malta's reformed Constitution, said Godfrey Farrugia, leader of Partit Demokratiku.

The commission, a body of the Council of Europe, this week said the Maltese PM's wide power of appointments creates serious risk to rule of law. It also recommended that the AG’s powers be split, and said that reforms started by this government were not sufficient and that positions of trust should be limited.

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Farrugia said the PD will analyse the report very carefully and will push for the recommendations of the report not to be shelved but to be used as a blueprint for Malta's reformed Constitution instead.

“We will welcome the report because it will be a truly impartial diagnosis of the health of our constitution,” said Farrugia, adding, “the Venice Commission is a truly apolitical and independent organisation, whose only interest is fixing the broken system.”

The statement published by the Venice Commission on Friday indicates that the final report will call for a better and secure system of separation of powers and will make a number of specific recommendations.

The report is expected to highlight the Prime Minister’s unchecked power in the appointment of certain constitutional roles, such as the President and judges as an area for improvement.

Other areas that will be flagged include making Parliament a full-time institution and breaking the practice where backbench MPs are employed by the government to supplement their income and ensure their loyalty, and splitting the role of the Attorney General into two.

The European Commission for Democracy through Law, otherwise known as the Venice Convention, is a highly regarded advisory body established by the Council of Europe which strives to promote the highest standards of democracy. It was asked to examine and report on Malta’s constitution, rule of law and separation of powers after a recommendation of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, another Council of Europe body.

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