The European Parliament elections are only two days away and I am so relieved that the political campaign leading to the afore-mentioned elections is coming to an end. Once again, the major political parties have resorted to hurling insults at each other and morphing the European elections into a national one. The European element was left out with both parties attempting to outdo the opposing party either by showcasing their excellent work in government or by pinpointing each other’s flaws.
The basis of many voters’ opinions is the media and the web and although they are worthwhile tools to inform oneself, they are not sufficient to understand the whole picture of the European Union. Because of this, many have the impression that this entity is made up solely of the European Parliament and that it is the spitting image of the Maltese parliament. For sake of clarification, the EU is neither. It is a complex body of institutions and unlike the national parliament, there are more parties and ideologies that need to be addressed. The PN and PL will be part of a larger political group. They will be a number in that group and although Maltese issues will be tackled, they are at the mercy of the other EP members whether they like it or not. Therefore, the campaign should be one to convince us, as voters that you will fight for our county’s rights in the EU and attempt to resolve European issues which affect your country as best you can.
Unfortunately, despite fuelling the campaign with shouts of ‘Energija Pozittiva’ and ‘Malta Ahjar’, I personally think their tactics neither served to improve Malta’s ideology about the EU nor surround the Maltese electorate with positive and encouraging energy to vote in these elections. Bipartisanism is the plague of national politics and no matter how hard we try, we can never find a cure or more accurately, we do not intend to find one.
These elections are supposedly about electing competent and strong-willed individuals who will voice the concerns of the Maltese population. Some potential MEPs, dubbed ‘star candidates’, were in the limelight attending debates and persuading the electorate to trust them with their vote (or rather uttering repeatedly why people should believe in their party’s ideology). Others were forgotten and despite the MEP election campaign coming to an end, it seems that many still have no idea who some of the candidates are and what they can offer if elected. The candidates were overshadowed by the slander match taking place between the two main party’s leaders, who ironically are not even contesting the MEP elections. The only party who took a clear stance on a European level also fell victim to this saga, was shunned and sometimes even ridiculed.
Comments by the electorate on social media evidently show how exasperated people are of listening to the same cliché of the two main political parties. The only group of people who have put in spectacular effort to turn the tables and give these elections a slight European feel were the young generation. They have taken many initiatives promoting the EU’s work throughout the year and broadening our perspective as to the real reasons for voting on Saturday. Hats off to these energetic individuals and organisations, you were a breath of fresh air throughout this fight for a place in the European Parliament.
Albert Einstein once said that ‘we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them’ and I’m sure that many people will concur with this statement. Try as we may, it is difficult to completely eliminate the bipartisan mentality that our country is accustomed to. We need to keep an open mind and broaden our spectrum of ideas. It is only through this that one can slightly change the country’s political landscape and not by refusing to go out and vote.