Sociologist, local councillor, activist, drummer from Malta

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Alternattiva Demokratika to withdraw from local council elections unless OPM Directive is withdrawn

Head of the Public Services Godwin Grima will tonight meet Alternattiva Demokratika over the new directive, the green party has confirmed.

Miriam Dalli - Malta Today 9 February 2012

Alternattiva Demokratika has announced that it will not be contesting the local councils elections, unless the Office of the Prime Minister removes directive restrictions on public sector employees.

A directive issued last February by the OPM orders prospective election candidates working in the public sector to take special unpaid leave for 15 days if they are to contest local council elections.

In a statement, AD Chairperson Michael Briguglio said that it was "absurd" that the Office of the Prime Minister was "penalizing" local candidates by asking them to take special unpaid leave or leave for offering to give a voluntary service to their locality.

"This is obviously detrimental to all candidates who work in the public service, and especially to those who are coming from small parties or who are independent candidates," Briguglio said.

"We have no doubt that this is the true reason why this new directive was introduced less than a year ago and with restricted circulation. In fact we realised in the past few days that very few were aware of its existence."

Yesterday, AD said that candidates from other political parties, including Nationalist mayors, were not aware of the directive.

"Because of these maneuvers to restrict participation of citizens in Malta's democratic process, AD - The Green Party will be withdrawing its 10 candidates from the forthcoming local council elections," Briguglio said.

He added that AD will rethink its position if the directive is revised so as not to "punish public service employees who choose to give a service to their locality".

Contacted by MaltaToday over the latest developments, AD spokesperson for Home Affairs Carmel Cacopardo confirmed that he had been contacted by the Office of the Prime Minister to meet and discuss the directive.

The meeting will be held tonight with the head of the Public Services, Godwin Grima.

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