The big manifesto crunch: what are parties in opposition proposing?

Comprehensive database on every single concrete proposal put forward in every manifesto so far

 

In the interest of preserving The Shift’s role as an information watchdog, this news room has gone through every single political party electoral programme published so far for the 2022 general elections.

As of today, three political parties have published their programmes in full – the Nationalist Party, ADPD and newcomers Volt. The Labour Party has so far not published its manifesto in full, promising to do so on 11 March.

For the sake of ease of navigation and clarity, proposals deemed to be too vague to pin down or otherwise referring to already existent and identified services were excluded from the databases.

After analysing each electoral programme, the main proposals offered in each sub-section were highlighted in writing below the data charts accompanying each one. Main proposals were selected on the basis of the significance of their impact on the overall wellbeing of both the country’s infrastructure and the people who would be affected.

The Nationalist Party

Out of a total of 392 identified proposals, the PN’s manifesto focuses mainly on measures meant to address issues related to quality of life, employment, social mobility, the environment and Malta’s national identity.

A key standard underpinning many of the PN’s proposals is the Environmental, Social Responsibility and Governance (ESG) criteria which are required for the incentives and schemes a PN government would offer.

In order to benefit from government incentives, business operators will have to show concrete steps taken to mitigate the impact on climate change, that they are using land responsibly, and the need to have waste management and electricity consumption management plans.

Companies seeking to earn their ESG certification will also have to ensure they don’t employ individuals in precarious or illegal conditions, commitments to preserving work-life balance for employees, and active contribution towards their communities.

Finally, companies seeking to be ESG-compliant will have to be completely in line with fiscal and regulatory obligations.

The Nationalist Party has also taken a clear, hardline stance against organised crime and corruption, promising to make the full implementation of the recommendations put forward by the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry board their first law if elected.

Doubling down on its previous legislative proposals based on the inquiry, the PN has also proposed the implementation of unexplained wealth orders and the establishment of the office of a special inquiring magistrate against corruption which will be able to start its own investigations and be endowed with wide-ranging powers.

Asset and income declarations compiled by MPs annually would also become more extensive and detailed, with submissions to be vetted by auditing through Cabinet.

ADPD

The Green Party’s manifesto, which proposes a total of 60 identifiable proposals and posits the party’s position on several others, focuses largely on amendments to the constitution, organised crime and corruption, climate change, transport and the financial sector.

The party has been militating for constitutional amendments to the parliamentary proportionality mechanism since it was first conceived, arguing for the right to distribute seats to any party that amasses at least 2.5%of all valid votes.

Other constitutional amendments proposed by the party include removing the prime minister’s ability to call a snap election, reforming broadcasting laws to no longer allow the existence of political party stations, and strengthening the right to referenda which seek to either strike off or propose laws.

ADPD also proposes the full implementation of the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry board, promising to push for another inquiry which would be tasked with investigating all major contracts signed by the government since 2013.

While the PN proposed a reform of the passports scheme, ADPD called for it to be scrapped altogether, with fledgling party Volt following suit. As for anti-corruption efforts, ADPD proposed the setting up of a National Crime Agency which would take orders from an anti-corruption magistrate, similar to what the PN also proposed.

In its climate change section, the Green Party’s manifesto calls for all public buildings, factories and commercial sites to be used for the generation of solar power, envisaging parallel investments in small scale wind turbines in industrial zones.

All major industries and companies, including banks, insurance companies and financial services operators would also be obliged to publish their plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

The party also put a heavy emphasis on shifting modes of transport to bicycles, electric scooters and electric bikes, including proposals to build bicycle superhighways and providing grants and no-interest loans to incentivise uptake.

Besides the 60 proposals listed above, ADPD has outlined its position on other issues such as calling for a clear separation of big businesses from political parties and the regulation of lobbying, more frequent revisions of cost of living adjustments, and the need to incentivise the use of empty or abandoned properties to better regulate the supply aspect of the housing market.

Other issues outlined in ADPD’s manifesto include the party’s long-held stances on various sub-strands of human rights issues, including the fight against gender-based violence, the safeguarding of sexual and reproductive rights and a drug use policy that clearly distinguishes users from traffickers.

Volt

Focusing largely on the expansion and safeguarding of legally-enshrined human rights, the pan-European newcomers’ manifesto of 206 proposals focuses mainly on social and finance, education, healthcare, transport and migration.

Volt took promises made by both the PN and ADPD to fully implement the recommendations proposed by the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry board even further, also promising to work on implementing outstanding Venice Commission and the EU Commission’s rule of law report recommendations.

Volt also proposed to gradually increase the starting salary of educators to €30,000, arguing that Malta’s educational system and syllabi generally need a holistic review that is supplanted by media literacy, civic education and ethics studies.

The party also proposed to reduce the costs of starting any type of business to €1 per procedure, with any additional business administration costs being limited to not above €1,000.

The party also proposed 24/7 bus systems in conjunction with studies on which other methods of public transport would fit into a local context, with further efforts to be made for the pedestrianisation of ‘slow street’ areas.

The party also proposed a slew of radical proposals, including the decriminalisation of recreational drugs, the legalisation of voluntary euthanasia and assisted dying, the legalisation of sex work, and the provision of extensive parental leave of up to 20 weeks per person.

                           
                               
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