ADPD, Malta’s longest-standing alternative to PL and PN, held a brief press conference earlier on Wednesday to officially announce it has filed a constitutional court case against the state over discriminatory electoral processes.
ADPD, which obtained 4,747 votes in the 2022 general elections, is arguing that given the fact that the party’s vote count has surpassed the national quota for representation, the electoral commission’s proportionality mechanisms are skewed in favour of the major parties.
The principal argument challenges Article 52 of Malta’s Constitution, which outlines how the parliamentary proportionality mechanism allows for the addition of extra seats whenever is necessary to ensure adequate representation of the electorate’s voting preferences.
In its appeal to the court, ADPD argued that this proportionality is reserved exclusively for cases relating to “only two parties which have already obtained parliamentary seats and is excluded in all other cases”.
To illustrate the point, ADPD chairperson Carmel Cacopardo referred to how on 28 March, the Electoral Commission announced that the result was adjusted through the addition of two MPs from the list of candidates presented by PN – Toni Bezzina and Ian Vassallo Hagi.
“This is not equal treatment in ADPD’s regard and it is a mechanism that bears no legitimate purpose that threatens voters’ right to freedom of expression,” the appeal reads.
Additionally, the party also lamented the 2021 addendum to Article 52 which allowed for the gender quota mechanism to be implemented this year.
“This legal provision is discriminatory towards the plaintiffs as well as other individuals who are not candidates of the two major parties or ADPD, because it limits and restricts incentives for additional seats to candidates who are associated with the two parties, the Labour party and the Nationalist party,” ADPD argued.
The green party is also claiming a breach of other articles from Malta’s Constitution as well as the European Convention of Human Rights, arguing that “the discrimination we are facing is an integral part of electoral legislation by design”.
ADPD further cited a breach of the fundamental human right to a free and fair election as enshrined by the European Convention of Human Rights, adding that it was also subjected to discrimination as outlined by Article 45 of Malta’s Constitution.
When asked about ADPD’s overall outlook on the 2022 general elections and the shift away from major parties, Cacopardo described the commencement of “a seismic shift” in the preferences of the Maltese electorate.
“We understand why people abstained or willingly annulled their vote. We respect their choice, which is a very strong political statement. We are and will continue presenting ourselves as an alternative, because we want to offer a party to address the hopes of these people,” Cacopardo said.
“Our party is there for that purpose, to address all these issues. We are conscious that the country and its institutions are hijacked by the major parties and we are working as much as we can to address this situation,” he added.