Both the Opposition and the rule of law NGO Repubblika noted the publication of the Government’s letter sent to the Venice Commission, and said that they plan on studying it and giving their opinion in a constructive manner.
The letter, which is undated, sent by the Minister for Justice Edward Zammit Lewis to the European Commission for Democracy through Law of the Council of Europe, better known as the Venice Commission, includes the government’s proposals for judicial and institutional reforms.
In a press release reacting to the publication of the letter, Repubblika said that it will provide the criticism “in the hope that a true and just reform will be put in place which will address and halt the consequences of partisan appropriation of the judiciary, that has been the case for the past seven years.”
The NGO went on to outline that Malta’s current judicial system does not respect democratic norms, claiming that “this defect has been exploited by Government; in the past seven years, out of 30 judicial appointments, 21 appointments had partisan connections.” It mentioned its work done with this regard in the past few months, including the judicial protest filed on 16th April insisting that the letter be published.
“We shall be expressing our opinion after having examined Government’s proposals very carefully. We will be making our opinions public in order to contribute to the national discussion about this important topic,” said the NGO.
Opposition not consulted
In its reaction, the Opposition said that it was neither informed nor consulted by the Government on these proposals, and so, it too shall be scrutinising them in the coming days.
It added that this is not an adequate way to rule. Democratic countries consult amongst themselves, involving experts and the civil society, said the press release signed by Opposition Shadow Minister for Justice Jason Azzopardi and Shadow Minister for Constitutional Reform Chris Said.