The Malta Independent 23 September 2021, Thursday

President says rule of law is as strong as belief placed in it, calls for Constitutional reform

Wednesday, 13 December 2017, 12:09 Last update: about 5 years ago

President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca discussed the rule of law in her Republic Day speech where she commented that it is only as strong as the belief people place in it.

 “If the law of power surpasses the rule of law, than it will be difficult for the rule of law to remain strong and to take its place as the key element in a strong democracy. “

Coleiro Preca called for Constitutional reform, adding that after multiple meetings with the Prime Minister and others, and after all that has taken place over the last year, there is no more time to waste in this regard.

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“The main parties have spent years admitting, acknowledging and promising” constitutional reform and it is now time to deliver, she said.

She called on the public to participate and involve itself in any form of reform.

“I genuinely believe this process should be public and transparent”.

The President was speaking at the annual Republic Day speech. She showed solidarity with all journalists after the brutal murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia which took place on 16 October just metres away from her Bidnija residence.

“It understandable that the condemnation of such a brutal murder will never give comfort to the family of the victim. On the other hand, developments within the investigation should provide some hope that justice might be served.”

She stressed that the work of a journalist is indispensible in a democracy and urged all Maltese to continue seeking out what is food and right with impartiality.

Culture of verbal violence

The President also spoke about a culture of verbal violence taking over, made possible through modern methods of communication.

“Unfortunately, this culture of verbal violence is not only becoming an integral part of our lives but it would appear that we are also pushing this as part of freedom of expression, as though this culture is some democratic tool and a cross that all those in politics must carry”.

She added that constructive criticism is essential in a democracy, but insults undermine it.

Coleiro Preca said that partisanship is weakening critical thinking.

Drugs

The President praised Malta’s armed forces for intercepting many drug trafficking activity and preventing them from reaching Maltese shores. She also thanked drug rehabilitation agencies across Malta and Gozo for their work.

Coleiro Preca said that she was asked to pass on the message that drugs have no recreational value and that drugs are our enemy and not our friend.

She therefore called on legislatures to provide a safe space for reasoned discussion based on expert opinion before taking any decisions.

Prostitution

The President took the opportunity to advocate for the Nordic model where victims, meaning the prostitutes, are completely criminalised and it is the ‘john’ or those soliciting who are criminally prosecuted.

This message comes within the backdrop of government announcing that legalisation and regulation of prostitution in Malta is being contemplated.

She said that after speaking with many people, hearing many stories and carrying out her research, she is convinced that the road to take is that off decriminalising the victim. Countries such as Sweden, France, Iceland, Canada and Ireland were cited for having chosen the path which “does not risk threatening the dignity of women”.

Housing

Housing issues have made headlines over the past year as permits continue to fly-out like hotcakes to develop flats and rental prices continue to soar.

Coleiro Preca said that while the economy continues to perform strongly, the rental market will continue to demand higher prices. Therefore, should solutions not be found in a timely manner people and their children will continue to hop from village to village constantly hunting for affordable rent.

This leads to social exclusion and prevents children from enjoying a community feeling that so many other Maltese are accustomed to.

She called for the government White Paper on the rental market to be implemented in the shortest time possible.

The president touched on many other issues such as emotional poverty, politics of integration, the praising of LGBTIQ rights and how to maintain their dignity as well as the future of children in Malta.

Coleiro Preca praised the government’s economic success and called for the wealth to spread to everyone. 

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