mardi, décembre 13, 2005

Res Publica

"In a republic this rule ought to be observed: that the majority should not have the predominant power." Marcus Tullius Cicero
Thirty-one years later, even the Republic begins to feel old. Today the state of which I am a citizen commemorates its transition between consitutional monarchy and republic. Barring any great moves from the island where time stood still, I will still be a ctizen of this state for a few more years.

31 odd years ago Prime Minister Mintoff performed some admirable legal acrobatics and using a wonderful supremacy clause in our Independence Constitution put Malta in legal limbo for a couple of hours until the Republican Constitution came into being.

Queen Elizabeth as Monarch of the Maltese Islands did nothing to stop this transition (and in doing so violated her consitutional duty to serve and protect the very same constitution). She was fittingly dispatched to sender and vanished from the face of this isle only to return every now and to inspect the newly resurfaced roads.

Five years later the Dom would invent another great celebration by celebrating the end of a contract with NATO and deciding this would be called Freedom Day. The carnival of Public Holidays had begun.

I am fully aware that this kind of presentation can provide hours of discussion among the acolytes of Independence and the servants of the Republic. In truth I couldn't give a toss. Whatever government I have is meant to serve me. And serving me it ain't.

Happy Republic Day. For what it is worth.

2 commentaires:

Fausto Majistral a dit…

The Fausto moment: 1979 was the year in which the 1972 Financial Agreement with the UK expired. Most NATO forces had left Malta soon after Labour was elected in 1971.

And, if I'm not mistaken, it wasn't exactly the supremacy clause that Mintoff resorted to but the fact that the supremacy clause was not entrenched. I believe Sciberras Trigona wrote his dissertation on the subject.

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

Supremacy Clause: the fact that the whole point was whether or not it was entrenched still qualifies it as a supremacy clause issue!

NATO: Funny... the monuments and pictures we have of Jum il-Helsien do not have Mintoff waving off a few accountants from the UK... unless my memory fails me it is soldiers that appear on the prickly pear monument (aka monument ta' Jum il-Helsien) in the three cities. Barring pedantry we like to think that Freedom Day was the last day we had foreign forces in our island.

But it's nice to KNOW you are on form again Faust ;)

yes AST did do the dissertation.