For the past year, Lovin Malta worked tirelessly to entertain, educate and inform its growing readership. Although best known for our playful listicles (and perhaps our sponsored content), we have tried to be the voice of reason on issues ranging from sea billboards to euthanasia, from media law to the morning-after pill. Today we formally put forward a list of 52 electoral proposals, one for every week of the year. This is our draft electoral manifesto and we welcome your feedback.
1. We will reshape Maltese democracy and put it at the electorate’s fingertips. We will roll out a national app that allows for mobile voting, real-time sentiment tracking and direct national participation. This will also allow Maltese citizens who live abroad to participate fully in Maltese democracy.
2. Every citizen will be given a one-time subsidy to buy a smartphone to help them participate fully in e-mocracy. Everyone will be eligible for a basic 500MB of data per month to prepare for the post-WIFI era.
3. Instead of having 69 Members of Parliament, we will reduce this number to not more than 31 members, make MPs full-time, give them a significant pay rise and provide a budget for them to employ staff.
4. We will allow for the Prime Minister to select Cabinet ministers from outside of Parliament, in an effort to increase the talent pool and to provide redundancy in case of resignations or sacking of ministers. These technocrat ministers will have to achieve a 65% approval rating through online public vote before being accepted to Cabinet.
5. We will legalise marijuana fully, putting it at par with alcohol, within our first 100 days. Tax income from cannabis sales will be spent on education, drug prevention, mental health and sports.
6. We will set up a commission tasked with legalising euthanasia and mapping out the best legal parameters by studying experiences in other countries, with a view of taking a decision within the first year of government.
7. In our first year, we will introduce measures to ensure private companies pay men and women equally for the same jobs. We will also make paternity and maternity leave equal. We will incentivise boardroom diversity through tax credits. We will also set up a commission for reproductive rights which will be tasked with studying and proposing legislation reform on related matters.
8. We will protect the right of Maltese citizens to use both official languages, Maltese and English. We will disallow discrimination based on language, particularly when it comes to sensitive issues such as court proceedings and access to education (including access to University of Malta). We will also ensure better representation of English in national broadcasting. No person should suffer any indignity for using either of the country’s official languages.
9. We will officially introduce gay marriage. We will also activate a global campaign to promote LGBT+ rights in other countries, by using Malta’s progress as an example to follow. The campaign will seek to convince countries to permit adoption of children by Maltese same-sex couples.
10. We will legalise and regulate prostitution and use any tax revenue from licenses to invest in HIV protection and sexual health awareness.
11. We will impose a heavy tax on limestone quarrying and incentivise the construction industry to use recycled stone and other materials for new buildings. Quarries will be given grants to develop their land into nature parks or solar farms.
12. We will increase surveillance and enforcement against illegal hunting. We will propose a second referendum on hunting as soon as the first illegality is confirmed.
13. We will impose at least two national Clean-Up Days per year where every member of the population must collect at least one garbage bag full of discarded waste from the countryside. We will also create a system of supervised ‘cleanup duty’ to be imposed instead of fines for minor pollution offences. We will introduce a heavy tax on plastic plates, cutlery and straws.
14. We will encourage the ‘re-greening’ of developed areas, aiming to be the first government to leave Malta with more ODZ land, instead of less. We will also impose a measure by which any ODZ land committed to an important development will have to be offset by the re-greening of an area three times the size.
15. We will introduce a new tax on development, which will be based on a project’s value, its environmental impact and its impact on the community. The tax will serve to improve the current infrastructure and maintenance of existing parks.
16. Every new building will require an energy efficiency stamp of approval based on a thorough inspection to ensure there is necessary insulation and other measures to conserve energy.
17. We will set up an international team of experts to evaluate road quality in Malta and propose a system to build the most long-lasting quality roads in Europe.
18. We will preserve the skylines of Valletta and Mdina while identifying new sites for high-rise developments with a view of creating a new iconic skyline elsewhere on the island, after public consultation.
19. We will subsidise the price of e-bikes for anybody who does not own a car.
20. We will build a vast network of bicycle lanes and bridges specially created for speedy and comfortable bicycle traffic.
21. We will create a national taxi company that works with the private sector to create the cheapest, safest and most efficient system of cab and mini-van transport in Europe.
22. We will decentralise power to local councils and encouraging public-private initiatives to boost security, embellishment and community initiatives in their towns and villages, while upgrading infrastructure, investing in garbage collection and road quality.
23. We will increase car registration tax and use the additional income to subsidise public transport with a view of making it completely free for use. We will introduce regular driving tests every five years for drivers who surpass the age of 70.
24. We will apply a zero tolerance approach to fighting dangerous driving, with a specific emphasis on drink driving, drug driving and texting while driving. The success of this policy will be measured by the number of inspections and suspended licenses which must all increase at least tenfold.
25. We will implement a revolutionary online database of every single government transaction. Every time the government buys a product, item or service, this must be logged automatically within a week on a publicly accessible database. Every major government contract will also be uploaded online for public scrutiny.
26. We will remove the financial restrictions and improve the user experience on important national databases including the Malta Financial Services Authority and the Planning Authority.
27. Ministers will be given market salaries and will also be eligible for performance bonuses if approved by public online vote.
28. We will update the party financing law to cater for political parties to be given a minimum annual income of €50,000. In return, political parties must adopt a real-time donations transparency portal through which the public can scrutinise party donations.
29. We will introduce financial rewards for whistleblowers whose efforts result in convictions.We will also introduce a vast range of user-friendly systems to report illegal activity such as pollution and corruption, through instant mobile reporting services that provide anonymous support and advice regarding whistleblower rights and obligations.
30. We will make MPs subject to an ethics committee whose members must be chosen from the judiciary. It will be made a criminal offence for any MP or public official to not fully disclose their income or assets.
31. We will introduce a system of fair representation in Parliament so that seats won nationally are fairly distributed in a way that discourages a duopoly in Parliament.
32. We will remove political party representation on sensitive public bodies like the Broadcasting Authority, the Planning Authority and the Electoral Commission.
33. We will give 16-year-olds the right to vote and introduce a compulsory educational course for first time voters about the Maltese electoral system and the Constitution.
34. We will seek to reduce the human impact of the asylum process by setting up robust online screening of potential refugees and catering for safe passage if the applicants fulfil the requirements. We commit to reducing the asylum processing process to six weeks. We will also negotiate a deal with Europe for refugees to be assigned to different EU countries equitably, taking into consideration each state’s economic needs and capabilities. We will propose that Malta becomes the coordination centre of this project.
35. We will seek partnerships with countries like Somalia, Eritrea, Mali and other refugee origin countries to boost business opportunities, trade and other positive initiatives in those countries, to stem the need for immigration and seek mutual opportunities that foster better cooperation. We will also seek to push this at EU level.
36. We will seek to remarket Malta as the place with the best customer service in the world. To do this we will invest heavily in worldclass customer service training for both the public and the private sector. The government will commit itself to being the best customer service provider in the country and will be monitored through an association with the Are You Being Served online community.
37. We will seek to renegotiate controversial public land deals with the private sector in an attempt to increase public access and encourage nature and art parks.
38. We will introduce the right to be paperless by imposing on businesses the requirement to allow for paperless transactions.
39. We will double teacher salaries to show commitment to one of the most vital jobs of our community. We will also ensure teachers are given the best resources and screening.
40. We will reform the stipend system so students who work part time can opt to renounce their stipend in favour of tax credits worth triple the value of current stipends. This will encourage work experience and provide more money in the pockets of students who cannot live on the stipend alone. Grants will also be allocated specifically for student startups and student-run NGOs.
41. We will double the investment of traditional and emerging national pastimes such as football, waterpolo, rugby, film, music, fireworks, festi and carnival to ensure more professionalism and better international country results.
42. We will win the Eurovision and host it successfully in Malta.
43. Every student will receive an €800 travel allowance when they turn 18.
44. We will ensure that every museum in Malta is open to the public for free on Sundays. We will also introduce a culture pass for citizens who want to have free or subsidised year-round access to museums or artistic productions including theatre performances.
45. We will phase out cigarette consumption by offering additional medical benefits and freebies to confirmed non-smokers. Freebies may include items like spectacles, contact lenses, tampons, dentures, hearing aids – any health-related items that are not already made freely available to citizens.
46. We will heavily subsidise gym memberships and offer personal training for obese people who seek help.
47. We will gives tax credits to those individuals who register themselves and their families with private medical insurance, to reduce the strain on the country’s health resources.
48. We will reduce the legal working week to 35 hours.
49. We will set up a commission to study the cost of housing and rent in order to seek innovate solutions to increasing affordability.
50. We will increase the minimum wage and provide more than minimum wage to stay-at-home parents or care givers who meet the required eligibility. We will also reduce income tax for everybody who earns less than €60,000.
51. We will dedicate vast amounts of public money on incubating Maltese-registered startups in an effort to make sure that the next Google or Facebook comes out of Malta, with a commitment to create jobs on the Maltese Islands. A massive investment will be made in Gozo to create a global incubator of eco-startups.
52. We will begin working on a post-EU strategy to prepare Malta to cope and thrive in the eventuality of a drastic change in power structure following Brexit.