The NGO Repubblika held an Extraordinary General Meeting earlier today where they outlined a 7-point manifesto which they describe as
“the foundations on which we build our initiatives and collaboration with others for a New Malta, a New Republic”.
The seven points in the manifesto are briefly described as follows:
Public Life based on and guided by ethical principles, Structural and Constitutional Developments, Training for a participative and responsible citizenship, A New, Honest and Sustainable Economy, An Environment that is enjoyed by All, An inclusive, just and humane society and finally,
Equal Justice, Guaranteed Liberties.
On Public Life, Repubblika stated that ethical behaviour means that we weigh our decisions and guide our actions according to a moral compass and not simply ask ourselves whether our action is to an individual’s personal advantage or to that of one’s family, whether it is legal or whether it is profitable.
“In public life, the fact that unethical behaviour is not expressly forbidden by law is no excuse. Neither is it excusable not to carry political responsibility in cases where there is reasonable suspicion of unethical behaviour, even if these cases are not yet proved in court. The presumption of innocence in a criminal sense is a different matter to the obligation of persons in public life to have exemplary behaviour and to act in a manner befitting their role”.
Repubblika said that their expectations with regard to the behaviour of people in public life are much higher than those with respect to ordinary people. The NGO said that Integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness and honesty together with leadership were the pillars on which public life should be built.
Repubblika also devoted a lot of time to the second point titled Structural and Constitutional Developments. They said that although the current Independence Constitution has served us well over the past 55 years, “the time has come for us to examine the Constitution of Malta, the fundamental pact that makes of us a civil and democratic state. We need to reflect on, and wherever necessary, review our institutions including the Office of the President, Parliament, the Executive, and Public Service, the Courts, the Police and Armed Forces, and the Regulatory Authorities”.
Repubblika then go on to describe the amendments they need to be made to the current constitution
These include a parliamentary democracy where the majority of the Executive is chosen among those parliamentarians who enjoy the trust of the parliamentary majority, protection of the fundamental rights of the individual and an electoral system which allows voters to express their preference from among the candidates contesting parliamentary seats on an individual basis;
Repubblika also called for local democracy and regional autonomy for Gozo, a real and protected separation of powers between the Legislative, Executive and Judiciary and a strong Parliament having the real and credible authority to ensure scrutiny of the Executive.
They also called for a permanent public service, without any partisan loyalties, that offers continuity, memory and awareness of public interest, independent institutions, particularly in the sectors of law enforcement.
Reppublika said that electoral reform should better reflect the popular vote when the latter demands a plurality of political parties in Parliament, recognition and definition of the role of political parties in the functioning of democracy;
Repubblika also called for the regulated financing of political parties and regulation of lobbying that occurs in order that persons in public life may listen to the opinions of those who have an interest in influencing the legislative or administrative process.
When focusing on education and the media, Repubblika proposed a number of measures including changing the ways in which public broadcasting is regulated in order to ensure its independence to create a distinction between political parties and broadcasting media, to regulate by law protection to investigative journalists who attract danger because of the work they do. They also called for the introduction of the principle of ethical responsibility to regulate government spending on public information.
Finally, Repubblika called for the creation of public funds that support journalistic investigations and other forms of journalistic work that provide criticism to authorities and other critical perspectives.
On the economy, Repubblika said that they did not want an economy that serves the rich at the expense of everyone else.
Repubblika said that the crisis of the past two years has shown that our country needs to focus on creating an economy that no longer depends on economic activities that exist mostly or only because of the dishonesty of those who want to hide their identity, nationality, or legal or financial obligations.
Repubblika also called upon social partners, the entrepreneurial community, expert academics and the Government to think creatively of new economic initiatives which provide sustainable development to our country’s economic future.
“We must appreciate that part of Maltese reality that remains unchanged. Malta is small and crowded. An economy that depends on construction, on the exploitation of land and property, on the payment of unsustainable debts on empty or yet unbuilt properties, is a bubble that once burst, will leave irreparable consequences which will seriously handicap future generations. Property development should stop being one of the essential elements of the country’s economy and earnings from property should be re-invested in new and sustainable economic activities”.
On the environment, Repubblika identified energy, waste and transport sectors as crucial in tandem with the challenge of an ever-increasing population growth.
“In the energy, waste and transport sectors, national policy should be redirected so as not to remain enslaved to uncontrolled and unplanned growth. Wherever possible, energy consumption, waste generation and the need for mechanized transportation should decrease or become more efficient instead of enlarging the infrastructure to cope with antiquated and vicious habits”.
Repubblika reaffirmed that in a just and humane society, the state had the duty to provide various services such as supply protection, prevention and medical cure to all without payment for high-quality services rendered which take into account rare and difficult cases just as any other case;
It also called on the state to ensure that everyone earns enough to lead a decent life and have full access to economic and social opportunities, ensure that there are no obstacles for anyone to accede to a digital society
Repubblika also said that the state should ensure that the distance between poor and rich is not too wide, welcome those who escape poverty, violence, or lack of opportunities in their country, contribute to world peace and therefore aid poorer countries to stand on their feet and finally, reach and develop Malta’s obligations with regard to climate change.
Finally, Repubblika said that would like to contribute to the continuous efforts to develop Malta as a country built on truth and freedom.
“Consequently, as members of Repubblika, we pledge ourselves to work in favour of justice and the rule of law, the collective commitment towards the common good, the separation of powers, the administration of a fair and speedy justice, the equality of all before the law, the respect of minorities, and the delicate balance between rights and responsibilities”.