Your journalist Julian Manduca is usually very well informed and correct in his comments and articles, however last Sunday (21 March) I couldn't believe his lack of grasp of basic concepts when it comes to elections and the forming of governments. In comments, obviously added after the interview with AD's Deputy Chairperson Mario Mallia, Manduca says “... at a general election in the remote case that AD was elected into power doubts could be shed on its ability to fill all the ministerial posts.”
Whilst hoping that Malta will in the near future free itself of the sickening two-party-winner-takes-it-all pseudo-democratic system, Manduca's statement is rife with inaccuracies. Parliamentary elections are held to elect members of parliament and not government.
A government is formed by that group of members of parliament, either coming from one party or from two or more parties who make up the majority in the house of parliament. That is, if one party has the majority of members in the house it will form a one party government, even if there are more than two parties represented in parliament. For clarity's sake, in a 65 seat parliament, if party A elects 35 members of parliament, party B 27 MPs and the smaller third party C elects 3 MPs, party A would form the government and choose all ministers from its ranks.
In the event that a coalition government is formed between two (or more) parties, the junior partner (that is the smaller party with fewer MPs), can either choose to support government by its vote in parliament only during votes of confidence and the budget without forming part of the Cabinet of ministers. Otherwise it can be offered, on agreement with its coalition partner, a ministerial post or two. It is still the bigger party that would occupy the majority of ministerial posts.
Therefore, on electing members of parliament a third, fourth, fifth... party does not need to “fill all ministerial posts” and does not necessarily form part of government. Germany has 6 parties in parliament, the social-democrats and the Greens form the government, with the social-democrats getting most of the ministries and the Greens getting 3 ministries. The other 4 parties including small parties like the centre-right liberals and ex-communist PDS the Christian democrats are in opposition. Germany boasts a high standard of living, a healthy democracy and is one of the world’s strongest economies.
Anyway I would, prefer AD's Dr Harry Vassallo, Professor Cassola, Mario Mallia and Stephen Cachia running a couple of our ministries than spineless ministers or outright flops such as Louis Deguara, Francis Zammit Dimech, Josef Bonnici and Edwin Vassallo any day!
Editors note: In the interview, when Mr Manduca wrote “at a general election in the remote case that AD was elected into power” he meant: “should AD get enough votes to form a government by itself.”