Tuesday, 29 January 2008
The biggest fallacy the MLP/PN has ever attempted to spin was that a vote for Alternattiva Demokratika was "wasted". Yet the recent "greening" of the body politics clearly illustrates that neither the MLP nor the PN can realistically seek election without being intensely aware of the formidable electoral influence that AD now brings to bear.
The following catalogue of AD accomplishments since the last general election demonstrably attests to that.
1) Departure tax: scheduled for abolition.
2) Rent laws: under review.
3) The cost of house property is now centre stage in national political debates.
4) Implementation of AD renewable energy policy under consideration by the present administration.
5) Reduction in Gozo ferry rates.
6) Ix-Xaghra l-Hamra: saved. A legal status is now called upon.
7) Ta' Cenc: untouched.
8) No mention of marinas and golf courses in the last budget debate.
9) Imminent abolition of spring hunting.
10) Niche tourism such as eco and agro tourism are now under serious consideration.
11) The Gozo region is to remain one whole electoral district.
12) Empowerment of the environmental lobby: the government is rethinking its position on the extension of the development zones.
AD was the only political party to actively participate in the national demonstration held last year against the proposed development zones rationalisation exercise. The Labourites and Nationalists just turned up for TV interviews, opportunistically availing of the over 1,000 protesters as a convenient backdrop.
When addressing the coalition of 17 environmental NGOs, its leading exponent, Astrid Vella declared: "For every person at the protest, another 10 remained at home, meaning the cause was backed by 10,000 people, which translated into 10,000 lost votes." (Times of Malta, July 20, 2006).
A total of 10,000 votes equates to several Green MPs. Just about 2,500 votes or less from any one electoral district determines whether Maltese and Gozitans want a watchdog in parliament invoking parliamentary privilege to explore issues and ask questions never addressed by the stagnant two-party system.
That AD unquestionably lends focused electoral clout to what would otherwise be a highly fragmented environmental lobby was further highlighted recently by a newspaper correspondent who made a very telling observation: "Alternattiva Demokratika has achieved all this without parliamentary representation: imagine how much more we could accomplish with it".