The Malta Independent 9 August 2020, Sunday

Parliamentary debate on constitutional changes regarding appointment of President begins

Monday, 13 July 2020, 13:52 Last update: about 27 days ago

Parliament today began debating a proposed Constitutional change that will see future Presidents elected by a two-thirds Parliamentary majority.

The change forms part of the institutional reforms recommended by the Venice Commission. The proposal also includes the requirement of a 2/3rds majority to remove a president.

Speaking in Parliament, Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis spoke about the proposed change, highlighting how it showed that the government has good intentions with regard to removing its prerogative in appointing heads of state.

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The minister spoke of the positives of having a 2/3rds majority system, adding that when such a system was used for other posts the government and opposition always sat down together to discuss and agree.

The intention of this proposal, he said, is to see agreement from both sides of the house in such appointments.

President George Vella is currently facing a Constitutional question of his own, as the majority of PN MPs approached him and expressed that they have no confidence in Opposition Leader Adrian Delia, and proposed that Therese Comodini Cachia be appointed in his stead.

Zammit Lewis spoke about the issue, and said that he hoped that in the coming hours President Vella takes a decision on the matter, adding that he hoped that the opposition would solve their issues internally.

Addressing Parliament, PN MP Chris Said said that legal changes have been needed due to Labour’s actions since 2013. He also highlighted the contents and recommendations within damning Venice Commission report.

Said highlighted that once the change in mechanism in the way Presidents are appointed is put into place, more powers could be granted to that position.

PN MP Jason Azzopardi also spoke, and said that if the government had instituted this proposed mechanism change when Simon Busuttil had proposed it back in 2015, Malta might have avoided the risk of being grey listed by the Financial Action Task Force, Azzopardi said.

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