The Nationalist Party should gear up to watchdog mode to diminish the chances of vote buying.

Blog post by Hermann Farrugia

As of now, the Nationalist Party requires not only to sustain but should even intensify its positative mode. It is crucial for it to be in a position to gear itself up into an efficient, well-oiled and coordinated election watchdog in order to preempt another humiliating and possibly devastating defeat in the upcoming Spring ’22 election.

The Nationalist Party ought now to forcibly allow itself to generate the indispensable stamina so that it can spiritually accommodate itself to a protracted pre-electoral situation. It has been far too long in a stoical mindset, competing with the Labour Party in administration on a vastly inequitable footing. There’s no doubt that in the forthcoming electoral encounter, the Nationalist Party will be struggling in warrior-like attitude but inevitably, it will be adopting an underdog outlook.

What is the lingering harsh reality that the Party seems to obstinately fail to come to grips with, in spite of its cruel June ’17 experience?

Coordinating efficient on-site polling-booth surveillance procedures (P.B.S.P.) and subsequent verification through comprehensive ballot reconciliation protocols (B.R.P.) are the challenges that the party needs to look up with urgency in its run-up to the voting day. It is mandatory and in fact indispensable for ELCOM to prepare itself, leaving no stone unturned in order to have peace of mind where this logistical aspect of the ballot process is concerned.

Both physically and morally resilient, genuinely dedicated volunteers need to be identified and thoroughly trained in these protocols and procedures. These necessarily involve their active participation through the painstaking and also tedious ritual of door-to-door delivery of voting documents to the elector-families across the whole country.

The scope of this exercise is to meticulously collate data, detect and instantly flag any possible aberrant, even fraudulent electoral processes. Analysing Malta’s election-day history since 1992, this would generally correspond to relatively minor infringements of our election code in the form of sporadic petty abuses which in their very nature are overt and relatively simple to detect.

Nonetheless, the fundamental aspect that needs to be intensely watched and profoundly tackled are the ongoing attempts at covert psychological manipulations of that section of our electorate that still remain highly gullible. It is this group that is consistently targeted by the magnanimous strategists working at Castile. They have been trained and retrained to perfectly stage, manage and direct our national media newsrooms into total subjugation.

Undoubtedly, we shall be expecting a cascade of episodes tantamount to obscene abuses during the PL’s fast-expiring people’s mandate. This will be perpetrated by an incumbent team whose modus-operandi will evidently be hinged upon predetermined vote-rigging, particularly through our caretaker Government’s fixation on exerting undue elector influence.

As in the fateful run-up to the last 2nd June 2017 election, the electoral malpractice will manifest itself by the reinforcement of the patronizing skills of ‘the privileged few’ over whole cohorts of emotionally vulnerable electors including our 16+first-time voters and the institutionalised communities of the aged.

This extreme form of elector control, through spurious targeted vote-buying, gets uncompromisingly spurred through an arrogant air of self-preserving re-election hullabaloo.

Unfortunately, the gravest dilemma and perverse setback centre around the fact that, once official election results have formally been announced, submitting any reports of grievances or invoking corrupt practice to the appropriately defined international watchdogs (such as the National Election Observation/Monitoring bodies at OECD and/or within EU surveillance structures) will most certainly be interpreted as a puerile tactic and a sterile attempt at self-justification. In itself, this may engender further backlashing by the same over-powered electorate that had just come about reconfirming its repeat “no’’ for a bitterly long-awaited (and by now well-merited) new mandate to the incumbent party in Opposition.

In a mere nutshell, what the PN needs to do after the next general election is to restructure and reinvigorate itself completely at the local, district, regional levels. The Partit Nazzjonalista requires to keenly ‘take the bull by its horns’ and drastically transform itself in such a way as to become refractory to any attempt at corrupt practice that would intend to undermine, demoralize and disrupt that, which it deservedly endeavours to achieve.

Indeed, this is a very tall order to continue to work upon. Yet, sooner or later, it will eventually take shape and effect in a positive, meaningful, and entirely productive way.

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