Birth of ‘second republic’

That which was already clear to some of us back then has now become patently evident to many.

Many have now – gradually at first and at quickened step later – come to acknowledge the extent of the heartless, shocking web of uncontrolled, unhampered and practically limitless corruption and abuse of power stemming from the corridors of the highest executive office in the land.

All of this has been, wittingly by some and unwittingly by others, aided and abetted by a parallel web of ultimately complicit silence, inaction, illogical denial and self-preservation.

Each sordid detail that emerges with every single twist and turn of this national tragic saga adds its daily dose of shock, incredulity, frustration and anger.

Unlike other instances, however, these reactions have broken through the barriers of our almost trademark national caution and reached the streets and squares of our capital in a movement which comprises all age groups, political opinions and individual experiences.

The past weeks have changed this country and they have done so in more ways than one. 

Joseph Muscat, as Leader of the Opposition, had once stated: “We want to give birth to a second republic… we have to determine what our republic stands for…”. The Labour Party’s electoral manifesto heralded the advent of this new republic. This was to be the administration that would bring the Malta Taghna Lkoll promise to the heights of it-Tieni Repubblika.

It is painfully clear today that Muscat, those closest to him and those who have remained in complicit silence have not only betrayed the traditional and founding philosophy of the Labour Party itself but have also seriously undermined the effectiveness of the principles of rule of law and separation of powers as they are currently enshrined in the Constitution.

Political parties would do well to respond to the bold aspirations bravely emerging from these days of otherwise national shame

– Alex Perici Calascione

The unfortunate legacy of Joseph Muscat will always be linked to the sordid and tainted collapse of these past weeks. This is as undeniable as it is inexorable. 

However, as the vast majority justly insist on his immediate resignation as the only possible first step towards rebuilding a heavily tarnished national reputation, the ever growing movement spearheaded by civil society seems to have actually taken up precisely the mantle of Muscat’s boldest unfulfilled promise – that of heralding this ‘second republic’. They are moving to more clearly “determine what our republic stands for”.

That which is unfolding is a significant evolution on fast-track – an evolution which many feel has perhaps been long coming, but which is now staring us in the face.

Civil society, in the wider sense, has moved towards bringing about this ‘second republic’, not in the technical form of wide-sweeping constitutional amendments but in a bold, determined and unwavering insistence that the traditional method of governance of this “…democratic republic founded on work and on respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual” needs to be challenged and shaken to the core.

It may very well be that the true foundations of this ‘second republic’ are being laid right now and right before our eyes at this very time.

A colleague recently told me that after these weeks, politics will never be the same again. True indeed.

Political parties quite simply must take heed of all that is happening. It is their clear responsibility to do so, so that their structures and their policies reflect this resounding reality.

We must, all of us, reflect deeply, acknowledge and interpret the signs of the times and stay tuned to the national reaction to the unmitigated filth of events unfolding before us. We must attend to the mood of the vast majority of the electorate, made up of those who protest in the streets and those who make their indignant reflections in the quiet of their homes.

Khalil Gibran famously wrote: “Pity a nation that despises a passion in its dream, yet submits in its awakening… Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years and whose strongmen are yet in the cradle.”

The past days have shown that our nation submits no more at its awakening. Our sages have spoken, and our strong men have come of age. This is indeed our collective hope for the future.

Political parties would do well indeed to embrace this development as it unfolds, to take heed of the collective national mood and to respond to the bold aspirations bravely emerging from these days of otherwise national shame.

The consequences of failing to do this may very well be dire indeed.

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