Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Malta Today: The new Nationalist | Charlò Bonnici

Sunday 10 June 2012 - 10:12, by Jurgen Balzan

Nationalist MP Charlò Bonnici not only agrees with the bill on party financing drafted by Franco Debono but insists that controversial laws such as IVF and civil partnerships should be pushed through by the government.

Nationalist MP Charlò Bonnici.

Nationalist MP Charlo Bonnici is not one who minces his words. In the past he has publically questioned whether it was acceptable in this day and age for political parties to own television stations, supported calls to amend censure laws in Malta, opposed the Ghadira road project and last year attended an anti-Gaddafi march before government took a clear stand on the Libyan situation.

While Bonnici played a central role in standing up for Carm Mifsud Bonnici during the Parliamentary debate on Labour's motion calling for the former minister's resignation, he aligns himself to the party's liberal and reformist faction by backing legislation regulating party financing, in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and civil partnerships.

Looking forward at the challenges ahead of government, Bonnici says that the government should push through laws such as the classification of films and of dramatic and other stage productions' amendment bill to be discussed in Parliament this week and other bills in the pipeline including the controversial party financing, IFV and cohabitation laws.

"Although I work for who I work, I totally support the party financing bill which demands parties to publish the names of donors and regulate the expenditures of candidates contesting elections."

Bonnici also agrees with pending legislation on IVF and cohabitation. Recently, Justice Minister Chris Said said the laws were currently at an advanced stage and currently on the Cabinet's agenda.

Asked whether the government is too slow in moving these laws, a cautious Bonnici says that such laws need time because of their sensitive nature. Pressed to say whether these laws should be introduced before the next election, an elusive Bonnici says "ideally they should be discussed soon but it could be counter-productive if they are rushed".

On IVF, he says that although the "Catholic Church has every right to express its opinions" on such delicate matters it must not overstep its position and bear a disproportionate influence on the cabinet or parliament. "Parliament should legislate on IVF, irrespective of the Church's opinion on the matter."

On the cohabitation law which will also regulate same-sex relationships, Bonnici steered away from expressing explicit support for same-sex unions but said "the law will regulate civil partnerships such as brothers and sisters living together. This will also include same-sex partners and I believe that the cohabitation law should be approved in the near future".

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