Malta’s electoral system is in need of a radical reform in order to clamp down on the culture of clientelism, Speaker Anġlu Farrugia has insisted.
Interviewed on TVAM last week, Farrugia said Malta should move away from its system of candidates competing with each other across 13 districts and towards a party list system.
This would see people voting for political parties, rather than candidates, with MPs then elected according to their position on a ranked ‘party list’ of candidates which would be published before the election.
Farrugia said this could work on a fully national level or across three or four districts.
“This system has its own problems but it will certainly reduce clientelism,” he argued. “Luxembourg is slightly larger than Malta but it only has a few districts while Malta has thirteen.”
“Clientelism hinders the national vision; the more candidates are conditioned by what people tell them in order to get elected, the less energy they will have to concentrate on the national interest.”
Malta’s electoral laws have been tweaked over the years, with the latest one, a gender quota mechanism, set to be implemented in time for the next general election.
However, there’s been quite a bit of debate about their future in recent months.
Family Minister and electoral expert Michael Falzon has said he’s open to a discussion on introducing a proportionality mechanism that will guarantee seats to small parties if they obtain at least 5% of the national vote.
Meanwhile, Nationalist MP and fellow electoral expert Hermann Schiavone suggested halving the electoral districts from 12 to six.
The NGO Repubblika has called for even more radical reform, proposing that the Prime Minister should be able to select any Maltese citizen to his Cabinet and that MPs who become Ministers should resign their parliamentary seats.
Labour MP Oliver Scicluna has called for a hybrid system similar to the one adopted by New Zealand, whereby people are given two votes – one for an MP from their constituency and another for a political party.