January 11 2004
Who should be the President of the Republic?
countdown is on. In three months time, Malta will have a new President,
elected by a simple majority in Parliament. Political analysts have
thrown names into the presidential ring.
Eddie Fenech Adami’s name together with that of Anton Tabone the
Speaker of the House of Representatives and of former Minister Michael
Refalo have been the punters choice.
The common denominator with all three being years of political service
to the country and their party. This is in keeping with the tradition
used for each choice made in the last twenty years barring, that of
the first incumbent Sir Anthony Mamo.
While believing that there should be no legal impediment prohibiting
a politician from being eligible to the highest office of the land,
as is the case with members of the judiciary, we believe that choosing
yet another party politician is not a wise move.
Every politician carries political baggage, which effects perceptions
and creates hurdles in the way of allowing the Presidency to be perceived
as the very symbol of national unity.
The symbol of national unity is at the very heart of this prestigious
office. Indeed former presidents have risen to the occasion and acted
‘super partes.’ This has none the less never changed the gut
feeling among the electorate that the incumbent really still belongs,
at least in spirit, to his former party.
Many a Nationalist die-hard trembled in former years at the very suggestion
that Dom Mintoff could have been President. The very mention of the
possibility left them shivering.
Do we really expect Labour sympathisers to feel any differently if Dr
Fenech Adami were the next presidential choice?
There can be little doubt that the present Prime Minister has the credentials
to fit the post. Will the whole country, however, rally behind him and
perceive him to be the grand reconciliatory, the healer, the father
of the entire nation.
We fear that enthusiasm for Fenech Adami would electrify half the population,
leaving the other half dejected in the belief that the very same person
who kept their party in Opposition for so long should now present himself
as the symbol of national unity.
Political wisdom dictates a different path.
It is time to think differently and to break the mould of Maltese petty-minded
politics. It is time to do politics differently, concretely and not
verbally. What better way than to start by making a non party-political
It is time to change the parliamentary mindset of electing ‘one
of us.’ It is time to choose a person who while smart and wise,
carries little party political baggage. The search must be on for a
person who is acceptable to all, irrespective of party political leanings.
We disagree with the Mintoffian theory that the only independent thinking
persons in the land lie at rest in the Adolorrata cemetery.
The next President of Malta should be an independent thinking person,
free from past party political service with a sense of fair play and
integrity. It may sound like a tall order, yet we are certain that it
is not impossible to identify the right person.
‘A person who can walk with kings yet feel at one with the common
man.’ Will the Prime Minister rise to the occasion?