Democracy Derailed: The Undemocratic University Debate

Posted On March 9, 2022

With the General Election (GE) round the corner, in a joint initiative with the Malta University Debating Union (MUDU), the Kunsill Studenti Universitarji (KSU) will be hosting this year`s University General Election Debate this Thursday 10th March at Sir Temi Zammit Hall. Malta will be seeing six political parties participating in the 2022 General Election, these six being: Labour Party (PL), Nationalist Party (PN), the coalition party of the Democratic Alternative and the Democratic Party (ADPD), VoltMalta (VM), Partit Popolari (PP), and ABBA.

As stated in the email sent by the University registrar the “debate will feature representatives from the political parties which are fielding candidates on all electoral districts” When asked about which parties have been invited to the debate, KSU stated that these were “PL, PN, ADPD, ABBA, and PP” based on the “criteria established by MUDU in order to have a multi-faceted debate representing as many different viewpoints as possible, while retaining its national setting which is why it is open to parties fielding candidates on all electoral districts”.

Screenshot from the email sent by the University Registrar
Confirmation from KSU about which parties have been invited to the debate

These statements indicate that the General Election Debate is failing to truly deliver its main purpose. It’s irrelevant whether the parties are running in all 13 districts or not, the 6 parties are still in the race together and all of them have the ability to impact the population. Aside from this, KSU and MUDU are failing to provide a democratic platform in which all the contesting parties of the Maltese political spectrum are represented together. If we want to better educate and inform our students, we should facilitate the means for them to hear all sides to make better informed decisions. It seems we are disregarding the basic values that our country is built upon: democracy. This political discrimination demonstrates the failure to give justice to what this debate is intended to be but also failing to truly diversify the debate panel.

Volt is a centre to centre-left paneuropean, progressive, federalist party that has not only a different construct but also policies and stances that the other parties do not represent. I am talking about the elephant party that is known for being the only pro-choice political party in the country. But policies aside, as the panel stands, their political spectrum representation is unbalanced by having the majority right-wing parties, two of which are far-right.

The GE is an important time in any country, but in Malta it tends to be revered and given the same passion as a football match. Aside from that, Malta has a long history of not just a bipolarised political system but also a bipolarised political mentality, with 3rd parties hardly having room to show who they are. This leads to a lack of political diversification with a slow slope for progress and innovation.

I hope this mentality starts to change for the sake of our country. I urge the organisations that are running this event to reconsider for the upcoming debate and/or for organising a more inclusive, democratic, and truly representative debate with all 6 political parties.


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