At a vigil on Saturday evening, commemorating 54 months since the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia, members of civil society stressed that despite Labor’s triumph in the 2022 general election, the anti-corruption message remained crucial.
They noted that the Labor Party had democratically won the March elections, but stressed that the work of civil society was still essential.
“Despite nine long years of scandals, despite the murder of a journalist and a public inquiry finding the state responsible for the murder, Labor remains hugely attractive to voters and was elected by another large majority.”
“There were an impressive number of people who did not vote, the nationalist party suffered another defeat, third parties remained unrepresented in Parliament thanks to the distribution of constituencies and the success of the gender quota mechanism remains entirely questionable,” Repubblika said.
They remarked that they find it surprising that politicians who have “fought” for justice over the years have performed poorly in the election, mentioning Karol Aquilina (only elected by causal election), Claudette Buttigieg (elected thanks to the gender correction mechanism) and Arnold Cassola (who, despite a good performance, was not elected).
They also mentioned former Labor Minister Evarist Bartolo (not elected in the 2022 elections), who they say has frequently criticized the government on social media.
“But human rights violator Owen Bonnici did it, and so did Glenn Beddingfield and Rosianne Cutajar,” they said, saying people wanted to live in peace and have their needs met. They said people like Robert Aquilina of Repubblika, Manuel Delia and Shift News were particularly blamed for the outcome of the 2022 election.
The NGOs remarked that despite the continued protest becoming tiring, she would continue to speak out “because very little has changed”.
They thanked people like Karol Aquilina, Claudette Buttigieg, Therese Comodini Cachia, Jason Azzopardi, Roberta Metsola, David Casa, Repubblika, Occupy Justice, The Shift News, Manuel Delia, Moviment Graffiti, Arnold Cassola and the Caruana Galizia family, for put pressure on the authorities.
“We need to turn the tables and ask why, despite the dazzling spotlight, it has taken the government so long to clean up its act. We need to ask why it harbors and rewards criminal behavior and why we can’t go a week without a hearing of a new scandal gobbling up taxpayers’ funds / public lands / eroding grassroots democracy.”
Republika said that while it recognizes the opposition must provide an alternative to government and not just survive on anti-corruption rhetoric, it stressed that criticizing power and corruption is the basis of a democracy.
“It sounds crazy, but four and a half years have passed since the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and justice still seems a long way off. We are here for the long haul. We have to roll up our sleeves, because there is a lot of work to do and we will stay here to do it,” concluded Republika.
During the vigil, speeches were given by Theater Director Chris Gatt, Martina Farrugia of Occupy Justice, Sammi Davis of Repubblika and Repubblika President Robert Aquilina.