A leading civil society group has called on the Police Commissioner to investigate an MP after she uploading images of herself treating a number of elderly people to bags of oranges.
MP Rosianne Cutajar turned heads yesterday when she uploaded a number of images showing herself giving small bags of oranges to elderly residents in the Smartcare Dar Pinto home in Qormi, her hometown.
“This care home is found in the electoral district Rosianne Cutajar was elected in, and will be contesting the next general election in. It is clear that the gifting of food broke Section V of the General Elections Act, Chapter 354, Art. 54 – 56),” Repubblika said today in a press conference outside of the police depot in Floriana.
“In light of this, we have sent a letter to the Police Commissioner Angelo Gafa’ to investigate MP Rosianne Cutajar since she broke the above law.”
Under Maltese law, giving out free food, drinks or other items with the intention of influencing their electoral choices, or treating as its known, is illegal.
People found guilty of ‘treating’ are technically liable to a fine of up to €1,160 or imprisonment up to six months.
However, this law is not enforced at all, with a police spokesperson confirming with Lovin Malta that it hasn’t received a single report regarding treating in the past ten years. And it is not uncommon at all for politicians, even prominent ones, to resort to this tactic ahead of elections.
However, with Repubblika’s report, this case may set a precedent for the future of political gifting to potential voters.
And it wasn’t just Repubblika, with NGO Aditus posting a link for people to file a police report if they ever receive a political treat themselves.
“We once again wait for the state’s institutions to enforce the law that regulates clientelism, transactional politics and other abuses in the democratic process, to take decisive actions to end illegal practices once and for all,” Repubblika ended.
Do you think treating should end in Malta?