The women fighting the two-party system

Despite the fact that Malta is not a cake, the Nationalist and Labour Parties are at present negotiating on how the country should continue to be divided between them through the gender corrective mechanism legislation being passed through Parliament. Instead of allowing the 12 women with the most votes in Malta to gain one of the 12 seats being set aside for females, the two parties have agreed to divide these seats neatly between them. What that means is that a third party or independent candidate, even with thousands of votes, might get beaten by somebody with just 92 votes. Of course, the parties will not take the ADPD proposal of introducing a party-list system, because it would do away with the system of clientelism they depend on.

So much for democracy! Women are being told that their voice only matters if they are submissive to the men who pioneered this unpopular legislation, and bow their heads to the two-party system. It is either Red or Blue – pick your poison. If you have your own, different thoughts, opinions or aspirations, then you do not count. Of course, this cunning design is entirely selfish and there are many current and former elected female politicians who have suggested that this legislative package should have been handled differently. They, too, have been ignored. Perhaps this has nothing to do with women at all? 

The attitude of these two parties is that they have a divine right to rule over this nation. It makes one wonder if Malta is still a colony sometimes. The main difference is that our new elites dress like us and speak like us, fooling us into thinking that everything is just fine. There is little space for dissent, however, while the two parties plunder our environment, public land and resources, dispensing them to buy loyalty and ensure compliance. It is a system, which has worked very well for them since independence. That is why even though they passionately hate one another; there is only one thing they fear more than each other. It is the system itself being challenged. If the system of patronage, clientelism and control were to shatter, then they would all have to face reality. 

That is why the PLPN parties are also collaborating to defend their party stations. They both agree that they should be able to keep feeding fake news to the public instead of coming together and agreeing that Malta is the exception, not the rule among nations, in allowing this blatant propaganda. Instead of reforming the media landscape, which would give people space to breathe and to think, they would rather maintain the current system that has led to so many misunderstandings and so much hatred, and such a poor level of political literacy and education.

The Nationalist and Labour Parties currently depend on a brainwashed population, split down the middle, taught from childhood to hate each other. Things do not have to be this way.

Quite often in Malta, people vote against a party rather than in favour of it. Nationalists vote to keep Labour out of power, and vice versa. They do so in spite of the fact that the party they are voting for does things they utterly disagree with. There is currently no party representation in Parliament standing up for the environment and our quality of life, despite the fact that the vast majority want to prioritise it. There is nothing democratic about this state of affairs. The majority of people have far more in common with each other than they realise, regardless of party colour. The problem is the system, which is against diversity, not only in terms of gender, but also diversity of thought and opinion. We lack a fair and modern way of doing politics. 

It is why the only way out of this mess is to end party-owned media and to do away with dirty laws and legislation which allow them to divide Malta up between them like a colonial possession. The fake so-called “corrective mechanism” they are proposing is just that – a reflection of their desire to control the outcome at any cost. That is why they are excluding all others except for their own. Their mechanism will not even work if such a third party or non-PLPN candidate gets elected. That is why, if you disagree with this system, getting a third-party female MP with a clear manifesto into Parliament, is the best answer to this steal. It would break the mechanism entirely and send a message for the history books, causing real progressive change. 

Katrina Cassar
ADŻ Public Relations Officer
Published in The Independent – Sunday 21 March 2021