The numbers are very clear and the political reality is even clearer. There are more voters against the government than there are in its favour and this trend is only going to continue. the difference between the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party in votes is only 8,5000, but there are more than 40,000 voters who so far, don’t want to vote for either party.
The Labour Party is not going to change overnight and nothing is going to change because changing anything would hurt Labour’s streams of revenue and the foundations from which their party thrives and survives. Addressing the housing crisis and restoring order in our jungle-rules-planning system will hurt the construction industry from whom the Labour Party depends for its revenues. Bringing justice to Daphne Caruana Galizia and addressing previous corrupt contracts would hurt Joseph Muscat and his friends, and for the same reason, the government has also constrained itself with its energy policy by keeping the Electrogas contract. Things will only get worse as Labour panics and gears up its vote-buying through nepotism and corruption while it also intensifies its war against the independent press. Labour’s propagandists will go on over-drive.
There are two ways by which Labour can be defeated in the next election and that is either with a total PN victory or with the introduction of a new party into the electoral race that eventually would enter into a coalition with the Nationalist Party. The latter option would be ideal for the country.
One of the reasons why the Nationalist Party is taking so long to recover its electoral losses is that it can not bridge its conservative demographic with a liberal programme. I hardly see the PN bridging this gap anytime soon and this will be crucial for the PN to win a general election. PN bridged this gap in the 1980s by uniting the liberal, socialist and conservative forces that back then opposed Labour. Nowadays, with its staunchly conservative positions, PN is hardly in a position to reach out to the young and more liberal-minded pro-choice voters.
So, Malta needs a political party with a progressive agenda that aims to oust Labour from the government and this party would have to be ready to enter into a coalition government with the PN. The country is currently, mostly united on one thing: most of us believe that the Labour Party should exit the government. What we don’t agree about is the ideological and political direction of the government that would replace the Labour Party. Practically, we have to find our common ground and work together with one main goal. I imagine this political dynamic with a progressive party running on its own and getting its own seats via a general election and then negotiating a coalition with the Nationalist Party. Given the government would be a coalition of two parties, the main party would be under the constant scrutiny of its junior-governing partner, thus putting some serious checks and balances on the government. I believe this would be a sensible solution which would unify the country more than ever, potentially with a majority much greater than Labour’s majorities during Joseph Muscat’s administrations. Labour would be condemned to the Opposition benches for many years to come.
Does the Maltese election system allow for a coalition to be formed post voting/election? I always had the impression that the system was built to favour the PN/PL so that only one of them could be in power.
I think it allows it, but both parties would need to elect their seats independently first, and the smaller party would be at a disadvantage because it wouldn’t be able to benefit from block votes that the bigger parties benefit from. Moreover, if more than two parties elect seats, then the proportionality mechanism can’t be used so candidates who would otherwise be elected even without a quota would not be elected. So joining forces pre-election makes it much easier to win and to do so with a greater majority.