…. is not on Harry’s menu right now. Nor is it on Ralph Cassar’s. In the following quote , Harry Vassallo seems to be hinting that the new government is illegitimate. He is in a way but not in the way the PN machine will surely spin it:
“The new government does not have political legitimacy, as none of the parties got an absolute majority. It is clear that the population does not want to be ruled by any of these parties,” Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Harry Vassallo told The Malta Independent yesterday.”
Expect the denigrators of the AD – especially from the proud PN corner – to pounce on this statement. Unfortunately Harry’s anger at not having obtained a satisfactory result may have got the better of his diplomatic skills. The sense of bitterness against an electorate that has done its duty overcomes all rational explanations. Not even the consolation that AD’s result comes against all odds and is no measure of what voters would choose when Sant is out of the equation and electoral rules become real will assuage such an immediate feeling of despondence and betrayal.
Harry is not saying that the government is illegitimate in a legal sense. He knows as much as we all do that our constitutional compensation mechanisms allow for a situation where a party garnering less than half of the national vote can still be allowed to govern with a majority of seats so long as a third party is not elected. Harry is pointing out that the PN can no longer claim to speak for the people and technically, if it had a bit of its christian democrat values left in it, it would tiptoe around its sweeping policy statements in the same manner as though it has a coalition partner in government with a watchful eye. It does have a watchful eye on it – of the majority of the Maltese who for some reason or another clearly indicated to Gonzi PN that it did not believe it was the best solution for government.
We will have to wait for the next too days for the euphoria or anger to calm down, then we can start the debate that has been waiting on the backburner for far too long. In the meantime, no flag waving mass, squib burning crowd or 21st century version of the 80’s Eileen Montesin complete with Run Chicken Run can compensate for this lack of political legitimacy.
In fact, it can only make it worse.
Addendum: As I typed this post a comment was added to the last post. Sant has resigned. Someone is already helping himself to the pie (admittedly this did take some force feeding). The first domino has fallen.