As the Nationalist party breaks a day of suspense with the announcement of a Nationalist victory (and Labour is still reluctant to concede defeat although Maltastar has announced it), we have witnessed quite a few fingers being pointed to the voters for change during the last few hours. It was to be expected but sadly for the finger pointers they seem not to be aware that the biggest winner in this election is the argument in favour of a real change.
The indication given by Joe Saliba is that the relative majority enjoyed by the nationalist party is of 1,200 votes. Rent-a-pundits on Net TV have been quick to point out that this is not the first time that such a low margin has been registered – 1981 and 1950 being two other low margin wins. Which does not really mean that there is nothing to criticise about a very small majority but rather means that the system allows such an uncomfortable situation to happen very often.
In the light of the need for change movement that has been gathering during election time, the first, early analysis is that now more than ever it is evident that the need for a new politics is being felt. The people have spoken and it is understandable that the party that in the words of Lawrence Zammit won on penalties feels the need to relax and release the tension. When the beer drinking and back tapping is over we will see how well the greater of the two parties who garnered less than 50% of the votes can read the signs.
For the signs are now there : added on to the pre-electoral admission of a faulty system that disenfranchises voters and that never gives a clear picture of the real will of the electorate. We had the large number of voters who failed to pick up their vote which must also be factored into the equation when considering those who for some reason or another are not comfortable with voting in this system.
What are the signs? Well for a party that would not have been comfortable to govern in coaltion with another party that gathered at least 3,800 votes to merit a seat in parliament it is now sending some confused signs. So you are uncomfortable that the 3,800 top-up to form a government would be some sort of dictatorship of a minority but when you have 1,200 votes difference over the ones you consider as mortal enemies in opposition you feel like you represent the whole Maltese nation? Am I the only one to feel that there is something wrong in that equation?
Is not this weird sense of justice all the more compounded by the fact that we will have in all probability a government of a minority? Do not forget that the Nationalist party now officially represents less than 50% of the electorate and it is only thanks to a constitutional provision that it can form a government.
The only way for the Nationalists to sit comfortably in their parliamentary seats for the next four years will be for them to humbly accept that this election should be a lesson – that they are not the popular party that they claim to be and that its time for some spring cleaning. Flimkien kollox possibli sounds hollow when that Flimkien is made to represent less than half of the voting population.
I start yelling the warnings from now (and I call on all those who spoke about the time for such discussion being between elections).
– Ignore this need for change at your own risk. –
In the meantime Labour and AD have a lot of soul searching to do. AD risked the nightmare situation for a couple of hours this afternoon. They would never have been forgiven by an already blinkered crowd had they managed to get Labour into government by electing Harry. Labour will need to really dig deep and have the perfect chance for a start. If they effect a radical change fast enough and build a party around policies they could even be in time to take up the banner of reform.
From party funding to party media ownership to electoral reform. It is now that the forces of the movement of change can start working and create the right environment for a new beginning. The result does not spell doom for an opposition because a rational nationalist government will surely not toy with provoking more people out of arrogance or the insulting tomfoolerey which almost risked it its new mandate this time round.
Le Roi est mort! Vive le Roi!