Political parties, money and elections

Prof. Arnold Cassola, AD spokesperson on EU and International Affairs, said: “With regards to Maltese expatriates, AD favours an amendment in the electoral law, whereby Maltese living abroad can register at their nearest Maltese Embassy or Consulate and vote there on Election Day. The Prime Minister has all the necessary Constitutional powers to reconvene Parliament in order to make these amendments to the electoral law”.

Prof. Cassola added: “As for the voters in hospitals and old people’s homes, it is scandalous that the Directors of these hospitals and homes are being obliged to give a daily list of patients and inmates to the political parties until the day of the election. This is a clear breach of sick and old people’s privacy. All that is needed is just one final list around 3 to 4 days before election day so that the electoral commission can organise the voting in the respective hospitals and homes”.

Carmel Cacopardo,  Deputy Chairperson and spokesperson on Sustainable Developement and Home Affairs, stated that the large sums of money being spent in the current electoral campaign once more raise the question as to who is financing the large political parties. From the little expense  incurred by AD we can understand that both the PN and the PL are spending millions of euros which are certainly not derived from the marathon collection sprees organised on the political TV stations last December. In this context it is easily understood why the PN led government was in no hurry to legislate on the regulation of financing of politics, both of the individual parties and the candidates. Simultaneously Parliament during the current legislature kept voting an annual sum to the parliamentary political parties. Alternattiva Demokratika is committed in favour of legislation which would make it compulsory to declare donations in excess of €5,000 annually as well as to prohibit donations from persons or companies in
excess of €40,000 annually.

Neither the PN in government nor the Opposition took any particular interest in the matter. Cacopardo also referred to recent amendments to the General Elections Act which created a sub-committee made up of an Electoral Commissioner and political party representatives to supervise voting in Old People’s Homes and State Hospitals. AD will participate in the said sub-committee with the specific intention of defending, as far as is possible, the privacy of patients. With this in mind, whilst not accepting lists of patients, AD, on the 18th December 2012 requested the Information and Data Commissioner to investigate the extent to which the provisions of articles 81 to 84 of the General Elections Act infringe the right to privacy of patients in Hospitals and residents in Old People’s Homes. We requested him to investigate and issue directives to the Electoral Commission to ensure protection of privacy. We have no reply to date.

Cacopardo also spoke on AD’s access to TV broadcasting and stated that AD is not satisfied on the time allotted to AD. The matter has been dealt with in meetings between AD and the Broadcasting Authority. We are insisting that AD should have more airtime than the few minutes currently allowed on current affairs TV programmes on PBS. We are also insisting that the political stations adhere to the Broadcasting Authority Directive issued in February 2012 relative to the electoral campaign. During the first week of the electoral campaign both NET and ONE have failed to stick to the Directive and as a result AD yesterday requested a remedy from  the Broadcasting Authority.

Cacopardo concluded by stating that in view of the fact that all the rules relative to General Elections favour the PL and the PN,  AD expects that all the authorities having a role linked to the general elections to be impartial in carrying out their duties.