Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia has proposed a pretty radical change in the way ministers are appointed, saying the Prime Minister should be allowed to choose up to three non-MPs to Cabinet.
Farrugia spoke out in light of the upcoming co-option of Disability Commissioner Oliver Scicluna to the Labour Party’s parliamentary group, which has been criticised by the Nationalist Party as a “manipulation of the democratic system”.
“It’s ironic that Bernard Grech attacked the same mechanism that was recently used to co-opt him to Parliament himself,” he said. “It seems Grech has forgotten that he didn’t knock on a single door to win his seat and wasn’t elected at the 2017 election but ended up in Parliament anyway after Ivan Bartolo resigned to give up his seat.”
“No NGO or editorial criticised the way the mechanism was used back then, proof of a clear agenda by some of them.”
“I wished Oliver Scicluna well. I used to and still believe that the Prime Minister should have the right to appoint up to three non-MPs to his Cabinet. Meanwhile, we’ll keep on working, focused on the country’s requirements and reforms.”
This week, the NGO Repubblika proposed that non-MPs should be allowed to become ministers, but with no cap on how many of these ‘outsiders’ can join Cabinet.
“The Prime Minister [should choose] for his cabinet ministers any citizen of Malta and, before the government is sworn in, the Prime Minister must secure a vote of confidence from Parliament,” the NGO said in a policy document which called for a major parliamentary reform.
Repubblika actually went a step further, proposing that a non-MP should even be able to become Prime Minister if that person secures a parliamentary majority.
Scicluna’s approval will mean that six people would have been co-opted to Parliament during this legislature. Finance Minister Clyde Caruana and Energy Minister Miriam Dalli were co-opted by the government, while Bernard Grech, his predecessor Adrian Delia, and MP Kevin Cutajar were co-opted by the Opposition.
What do you make of this proposal?