UPDATED: Creating a vacancy

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2017-08-22T14:00:43+00:00Tue, 22nd Aug '17, 13:41|1 Comment

Read this by Mark Fenech asking on Facebook what would happen in the rather likely event one of 3 PN leadership candidates who are not yet MPs is elected to the post:

“Let us assume that the PN leadership contest will be won by one of the three non-MP candidates. Naturally, the winner will then need to be co-opted into Parliament before taking his oath as Leader of the Opposition.

“As I have already had the occasion to explain in previous posts, the new PN leader can only be co-opted into Parliament in the eventuality that (1) a sitting MP who would have earlier been elected via a casual election resigns his/her seat OR if (2) a sitting MP (who would have been elected on his/her own steam) resigns his/her seat following which a casual election is triggered with no unelected PN candidates applying to contest the ensuing casual election.

“On the occurrence of one of the two eventualities, the way would be open for the PN to co-opt its new leader to Parliament.

“But there is a further complication.

“Assuming that no MP elected on the basis of a casual election will agree to renounce to his/her seat (there are four of these), assuming that an MP elected on his/her own steam will renounce to his/her seat and assuming that PN will succeed in persuading unelected candidates to refrain from contesting the ensuing casual election, will it be in a position to persuade the “Tal-Oranġjo” PN candidates to do likewise? Will PN party discipline also extend to the “Tal-Oranġjo” PN candidates or will PN be faced with the prospect of having a third “Tal-Oranġjo” candidate returned to Parliament at the expense of its new leader?”

In other words the only safe way into Parliament for the next PN leader who is not Chris Said as the voluntary resignation of one of the PN MPs elected by bi-election: Karol Aquilina, Maria Deguara, Ivan Bartolo and David Stellini. All of the four campaigned with blood, sweat and tears to get their seat but one should think all of them are known for their altruism. One of them even gave his kidney to a stranger. A Parliamentary Seat to the party leader seems hardly a sacrifice in comparison.

If anyone else of the Parliamentary Group offers to resign, any one of the unelected candidates can block co-option by running for the post: and that includes PD candidates who contested all 13 electoral districts and who are currently as leaderless a party as the PN. They might actually find the temptation to run irresistible knowing that none of the other candidates on the PN list would contest.

One can only assume Adrian Delia and Alex Perici Calascione have a plan. And what the heck, presumably Frank Portelli thought of this as well.

UPDATED: Here’s a further consideration from Franklin Mamo:

“There is one detail missing there: in a casual election a candidate *must* get 50%+1 of the votes to be elected (unlike in a regular election where candidates are elected to fill all five available seats even if they do not achieve the quota). This has happened before. In the early 1980s, when the seats of the elected Nationalist candidates were declared vacant following their boycot of parliamentary sittings, casual elections were held and Spiridione Sant (who had contested as an independent) submitted his candidature. He was not elected.”

Although a bit of a black box as one cannot be completely sure, this means that the risk of a PD candidate taking up a seat of a resigning MP who is not one of the 4 bi-elected listed above is mitigated by their possible inability of achieving half of the quota of votes they need to get elected.