The election of the Nationalist Party Leader is giving rise to a number of questions in the light of Bernard Grech’s affirmation that he expects a very strong vote in his favour. But what is considered a respectable threshold of votes to elect a Leader? This must be clearly outlined.
In this scenario, where there is only one candidate, is the threshold of 50 + 1 votes of the eligible councillors’ ballot deemed appropriate to represent a strong vote in favour? Faced with just one horse running, I believe that the only candidate should garner at least 80% or over of the valid quota of votes cast by the councillors to be considered as a strong vote of confidence in the incumbent.
We next have a more serious consideration: which is the question that the party’s councillors must be asked when voting for the party leader?
According to the Statute, after a general election, the party leader needs to go before the Party’s councillors to be re-approved and this takes place irrespective of whether the party leader has won the general election or not. Therefore, it is up to the General Council to approve and reconfirm the incumbent leader. Now, it has been confirmed that this is going to take place through a secret ballot. Nonetheless, what is the ballot sheet question going to be?
In the Section detailing post-electoral defeat, the Statute of the Nationalist Party does not speak in terms of electing the leader or, in Maltese, ‘ELEZZJONI TAL-KAP’. What it specifically states are that elections must be held to elect a leader or ‘ELEZZJONI GHAL KAP’. The inference is clear in particular, as already stated, this is a one horse race.
It is indispensable that the wording appearing in the Statute is inserted at the top of the ballot paper being used to elect the PN leader. The ballot paper must perforce read:
ELEZZJONI GHALL-KAP tal-Partit Nazzjonalista. Mejju 2022 –
ELEZZJONI TAL-KAP tal-Partit Nazzjonalista. Mejju 2022.
Elections for the leadership of the Nationalist Party, May 2022
Elections of the party leader
While for many, this might appear a minor detail, the use of the correct wording is extremely important in this case. This will make a big difference in the wording of the question that is going to be asked to the councillors to re-elect the PN Party Leader. Therefore, should the ballot question be
Jiena nagħżel li l-Onor Dr Bernard Grech biex ikun elett Kap tal-Partit Nazzjonalista? ____IVA ___LE’
I choose the Hon. Dr Bernard Grech to be elected Leader of the Nationalist Party. ___Yes ____ No
Any other wording that could be proposed by the Electoral Commission and duly approved by the Executive Committee should be disallowed. The sentence to be used must faithfully reflect the wording in the Statute.
Therefore, questions such as Inti Taqbel / Favur li …….. ? or Inti Trid / Tixtieq li …….? Do you agree/Do you support ….? or You want/Do you wish for…. should not be used. They do not reflect the correct spirit of the National Party’s Statute. These are questions that are blatantly subjective when instead the NP’s Statute was written in such a way to avoid such misleading or subjective questions. And this explains why using the appropriate prepositions is crucial in constructing the sentences and questions, in particular when they have a legal consequence.