Guest post: An Independent-Nationalist, not a ‘coalition’
Published: July 22, 2012 at 9:46pm
This is a guest post, which means that somebody more competent than I am in this particular subject wrote it by invitation.
We haven’t had a coalition government in Malta for 60 years, so some journalists have been telling us that we now have a PN JPO coalition, revealing an utter lack of understanding of the word.
A coalition is made up of two or more political parties which contest an election on separate and possibly divergent electoral manifestos, with separate lists of candidates.
They then enter into coalition talks agreeing on a coalition programme, which would certainly not be a copy of any one party’s electoral manifesto. They implement the joint coalition programme in a government that draws ministers from all parties in the coalition.
This is what is happening now in Britain and what happens in Germany and Italy almost all of the time. And this is what happened in Malta from 1951 to 1954, when Borg Olivier’s Nationalist Party and Paul Boffa’s Malta Workers’ Party (MWP) governed in coalition.
In the 1951-53 coalition cabinet, the MWP supplied three ministers out of eight and in the 1953-54 cabinet it supplied two – Paul Boffa and John Cole featuring in both, with Ġuże’ Cassar being a minister in the first one.
What we have now is altogether different.
Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando is not a separate party with a separate programme. He is a member of parliament elected on the Nationalist Party ticket and the Nationalist Party programme. He has made it quite clear he still supports that electoral programme and there certainly is no separate coalition programme. Nor can there be in these circumstances.
Pullicino Orlando’s situation now is that of an Independent-Nationalist. This same situation occurs often enough in Britain where, say, a Conservative MP might resign the party whip, or have the party whip withdrawn as a measure of discipline, perhaps after he has been deselected (precisely what happened to Pullicino Orlando) but still supports the party programme in the House of Commons.
He would thus be termed an Independent-Conservative.
So, please, let’s use political terms properly and correctly. ‘Cohabitation’ has also been floating around on the internet. But that only happens in France – and the United States, without the term being used as such – when a president with executive powers does not enjoy the support of the majority in the National Assembly, or in the case of the United Staes, of Congress.
However much we might agree or disagree with what Pullicino Orlando has done, he has made it quite clear that he supports the governing party’s programme and will keep working for its implementation despite resigning the Nationalist Party whip.
That makes Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando a quintessential Independent-Nationalist.