The Malta Independent 11 August 2022, Thursday

Complaints on President’s delay in signing IVF a ‘storm in a teacup,’ says Alfred Sant

Monday, 1 August 2022, 08:00 Last update: about 10 days ago

Complaints about President George Vella’s “alleged” delay in signing the IVF bill into law was in the nature of a “storm in a teacup,” Labour MEP and former Prime Minister Alfred Sant said.

In an opinion article published today in The Malta Independent, Sant expressed his thoughts over the controversy which arose after Vella did not sign the IVF bill into law himself.

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Eyebrows were raised when Vella delayed the signing of the IVF bill, which saw the introduction of pre-implantation genetic testing that will screen for nine serious health conditions, and embryos found to carry any of these conditions could also be frozen. The bill raised several opposing views from the Church and NGOs, who questioned its morality and ethics.

Three weeks passed between the Parliamentary vote and the actual signing of the bill, but President Vella did not sign the bill himself. It was signed by Acting President Frank Bezzina the day Vella travelled to the United Kingdom.

Members of the PN were some of the criticizers of this act, saying that Vella had avoided his duties by delaying, and then not signing the bill. Opposition Leader Bernard Grech also said that the choice the President had before him was to sign the law, or else resign due to moral issues.

The delay itself was an issue which angered most, with some criticising that Vella abused of the Constitution at his own convenience.

Sant, however, defended Vella, deeming the accusations as clamour. Referring to the delay, Sant said that Vella, who had served as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister from 1996 to 1998 under Sant’s cabinet, “has always been one of the persons active in politics who behaves with the utmost rectitude.”

“He also lacks any Machiavellian trait, which can hardly be said for all others. I have no doubt that right through the episode at reference, he conducted himself with the rectitude for which he is known. Whoever tried to impugn Vella’s personal or political integrity was firing at his own feet,” Sant said.

Sant said that others have abstained from signing a law which went against their morals and beliefs.

“In Malta, we have an easier solution,” Sant said, supposedly referring to the Acting President role, who signed the bill in Vella’s place. 

 

Read the opinion piece here

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