The Leadership of the Opposition is governed by the constitution says legal expert

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Dr Giovanni Bonello, formerly judge in the European Court of Human Rights and legal heavyweight said that the relevant section of the constitution at the present juncture is Article 90(4). In a pithy brief to which was given access, Dr Bonello said that Article 90 regulates the appointment and the removal of the Leader of the Opposition.

“It is a basic principle of interpretation of the Constitution that articles cannot be interpreted in such a way that one contradicts the other. The interpretation that must prevail it that which makes the provisions of the Constitution in harmony with each other,” said Dr Bonello. In the past hours, arguments were raised by pundits on the clarity of the constitutional provisions in the current situation. Dr Bonello sees no grey areas. He adds that this article follows on the same liens as Art 80 of the Constitution which regulates, in the same manner, the appointment and the removal of the Prime Minister.

“Though both Sub-articles (2) and (4) regulate the appointment of the Leader of the Opposition by the President, they stipulate different mechanisms. It is manifest that they refer different scenarios. The. first contemplates the appointment of the Leader of the Opposition at the BEGINNING OF THE LEGISLATURE, just after a general election. 

“The second contemplates the appointment of a Leader of the Opposition DURING the course of a legislature when, in the President’s judgement, the Leader of the opposition (previously appointed as per sub-article 2 has ceased to command the support of the largest single group of members in opposition to the government.  In these circumstances, the mechanism established by sub-article 4 comes into effect, and the provisions of sub-article 2 are wholly irrelevant” explained the legal expert.