The person behind the name – Marc Sant (PL)
As Election Day looms closer we’ll bring you short interviews with those at the centre of the ballots – the candidates themselves.
The three political parties were sent the same questions to pass on to their respective candidates. To date the Nationalist party has sent no replies.
Lawyer Marc Sant, aged 29 hails from Lija and will be contesting the general elections on District 8 (Birkirkara, Lija, Iklin, Naxxar, Santa Venera)
What attracted you to choose a political career?
First of all, I am offering my services because I believe that I can give a positive contribution to my locality, my district and my country. I have entered politics not in order to receive but to be in a better position to leave a beneficial mark.
Since both my paternal and maternal families were and remain deeply involved in politics, upon reflection I believe that this was a somewhat natural choice for me to make. My main reasons for entering politics are mainly my desire for social justice and my wish to live in a just society – where those with particular needs are seen to and cared for. I also wish to be part of a system of government where concepts such as transparency, accountability and meritocracy are the rule and not the exception.
What makes you believe in your party?
I believe in the Labour Party because it is the party that introduced a very wide range of social services which lifted many people out of poverty. It has always been the voice of the underprivileged and the party that worked for the many instead of the chosen few. Today it remains the party which truly cares for minority groups; which wants our society to move forward; and which is working hard to bring out country out of the acceptance of mediocrity that remains so ingrained in the Maltese psyche.
It is currently the party which is the most positive – the party putting forward many innovative and well-thought solutions which is, above all, committed to govern with the people and for the people. It is the party which believes in unity and the party which is working to unite the country once and for all.
Which party values and policies do you cherish most?
Throughout this campaign I have been struck by the following things in the Labour campaign. First of all it is a tranquil and serene campaign – there are no histrionics, it is positive and does not seek to ridicule the opposing party, and things are moving smoothly. Also, it is important to note that the policies proposed are not to be seen in a vacuum – but they are intertwined and interdependent. This gives the proposals a more holistic ambit.
The value which has impressed me most is that the proposals focus entirely on the citizen – the person is put at the very centre of the Labour Party proposals, whether it is in the justice sector, the health sector or the business sector.
What can you offer to the electorate and if elected are there any particular issues you will campaign for?
Whilst I never promise anything which I cannot deliver, I always offer my help when this is possible. I have been told that I am a very good listener and have noticed that people feel comfortable talking to me. At district level I will work to see that the main issues concerning my district – amongst which traffic management and flooding – are tackled in a holistic and sustainable manner which will improve the quality of life of residents.
I feel that my educational background combined with my extensive experience in various student organisations and community associations can help me put my energy, ideas and good-will at the service of my country and my constituents.
PL is breaking away from its traditional image, while PN is slowly moving towards a more inclusive attitude. What are your views on both?
I think that the Labour Party has realised that while it remains and will remain the voice of the worker, it is of the essence that it establishes very good working relations with the people who employ these workers. This barrier was not an easy one to break – but I feel that this has been done successfully as the Labour Party manifest clearly shows.
I find it contradictory that a confessional and conservative party like the Nationalist Party tries to project itself as an inclusive party. The political ideology which the Nationalist Party adheres to is inherently different to that which it is trying to portray itself as. The current GonziPN party is not even a distant relative to the Nationalist Party under its previous leaders.
Given your background (career) what policies and bill/s will you lobby for?
I would push to introduce laws which ensure transparency and accountability – first of all from the political class. Therefore, the immediate introduction of legislation such as the Whistleblower Act, laws regulating party financing and the removal of prescription from acts concerning politicians would be essential in this respect. My detailed studies and writings in the constitutional and public law spheres underline my interest in the workings of Parliament, the Judiciary and the Government and constitutionally-appointed bodies such as the Broadcasting Authority and the Public Service Commission. The proper functioning of these institutions is essential for the State to perform suitably.
A well-thought and comprehensive reform is required in this sector; a reform which ensures that the Constitution of Malta is significantly updated and that the basic separation of powers principle is put into proper effect. A substantial reform in the justice sector would also feature high in my agenda. This is because I believe that the smooth and transparent functioning of the justice sector is essential to allow lawyers to provide a better service and to give clients greater confidence that their concerns are being dealt with properly.
The underlying factor in any policy/policies/bill/bills that I would promote would be that the citizen is always to come first and that the needs of the citizen are always placed at the centre of any legislation and are given priority.
What should the public expect from a new government?
A Labour government will be an open government based on transparency, accountability and meritocracy – meaning that things are done above board; persons will be responsible for their actions (or inaction) and everyone will get what they deserve based on their skills and competence and not because of whom they know, their family connections or their network of friends.
How do you rate the current electoral campaign and the proposals launched so far?
The campaign started off in a relatively calm manner and the debates, although animated, were fairly civil. It was by and large the policies that were being discussed and dissected. However, unfortunately, lately the level of the debate has descended to very low levels where personal attacks have become the order of the day and where conspiracy theories are abounding.
This is certainly not the kind of politics which entices young people to become active in the political sphere. The way is see things is that the Labour Party has put forward various proposals which it feels will move the country forward, make it more competitive and will ensure a better quality of life for us all. It has been in opposition for around 25 years.
On the other hand, the Nationalist Party has been in government for a very long time. When I see most of its proposals the only thing that comes to mind is: “Why didn’t you implement this before?” or “Why are you promising this only now?” I honestly believe that it is offering too little too late.
‘Fil-Parlament ma jikbrux fjuri’ – How do you plan to be effective in Parliament?
First of all I would try to regain people’s trust in politics and politicians by pushing to introduce the legislation mentioned above. I would also strive to ensure that institutional reform is carried out and that the citizen is always placed at the forefront of any legislation or policy which is proposed.
I would also do my best to keep the public in general (not only constituents) informed of what is going on in the House of Representatives, holding regular meetings, continuing with house visits and meeting local organizations in order to better understand their needs.
PL has been in the Opposition for years. Is the party ready to govern? Why?
First of all, it is important to understand that this election is not the typical blue versus red election. It is an election between a restricted group of people with huge commercial interests to retain the status quo and a movement of people from different backgrounds and realities who have come together in the belief that Malta deserves a much better system of government founded on the concepts of open government, transparency, accountability and meritocracy.
Having said that, the very strong Labour Party candidature is testament to the fact that it is the better option to govern our country. The candidature showcases an impressive blend of experienced MPs along with first time candidates – people from different backgrounds (whether the traditional lawyers, doctors and economists to the less conventional pharmacists, entrepreneurs and students) who have joined forces to offer the country a holistic vision and a clear path forward.
I feel that this healthy blend will result in the country having the required level of expertise in every sector, with the result being a fantastic five years of government which will give our islands a huge leap in quality forward.
Why should people vote in new blood over serving MPs?
I believe that many people are tired of the present way of doing politics – the constant “us against them” mentality; the “my party is always right and the other party is always wrong” bickering; the “winner takes it all” attitude.
I am convinced that the younger candidates – of all parties – are more inclined to work against this mind set and are more prone to work in a positive manner towards a more inclusive way of doing politics. A style of politics where the message is attacked not the messenger.
In a parliamentary structure shrouded in allegations and lack of accountability, why do you want to get involved?
I decided to get involved because I want to work towards changing the mentality in this country. I strongly believe in the values of accountability, transparency, meritocracy and the rule of law and I wish to see the day when these values do not remain the exception but become the norm for everyone.
If these concepts were to be truly put into practice, this would necessarily result in a ‘cleaner’ political system where the interest of the country is always placed before the interest of any individual or group of individuals.