Sociologist, activist, local councillor, drummer from Malta

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

A Left-wing Presidency for Malta?

I am not interested in the strategic partisan reasons why Mary Louise Coleiro Preca will become President of Malta. In party-politics such nominations are always characterised by various possible overdetermining factors. And no party - big or small - is immune to such manouvering.

What I am interested in is the effect of such a Presidency.

Two alternative readings - among many other possible readings - come to mind.

First: That with Coleiro Preca as President, this role is being trusted to someone with a left-wing political background (more in the economic sense of the term than in the liberal sense), and that Malta's strategy against poverty and social exclusion will be elavated to that of a national priority. In this sense, Malta's welfare state will be guarded by somebody who truly believes in social justice.

Second: That the role of President will remain ceremonial, and the Labour Government will parcel out the egalitarian aspects of its policies to the President, who will merely act as a missionary for charity. This would possibly weaken Malta's welfare state, and social rights will be increasingly replaced by voluntarism. The attempt to reconcile the unreconcilable - neo-liberalism with social justice - would have experienced an implosion. The ideological orientation of the appointee to replace Coleiro Preca as Minister for Social Policy would perhaps confirm or quash such a hypothesis.

I hope that effect of Coleiro Preca's Presidency will be somewhere close to the first reading above. Her left-wing (economic) credentials are surely an asset in this regard, in a political world increasingly characterised by populism, careerism, technocracy and/or bland wishy-washiness.

My congratulations to Mary Louise Coleiro Preca.

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