Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Franco Forte

Love him, hate him, think he's a curse, think he's a godsend. People might not agree how to define Franco Debono, but i think everyone agrees that for the last few months he has dominated the political agenda . Some of his critics describe him as an insubordinate maverick and his actions are the result of spite and envy. Others describe him as a man of principle fighting for what he believes in, irrespective what the consequences might be. Probably he's a mixture of both. People are far more complex than the 2D image we would like to believe they are. But what i have seen so far is that the man is following a plan, or rather, his actions are following a pattern. Let me explain; this is what happened so far....  

  • Round 1 - Dec 2009 – FD misses 2 consecutive votes in parliament denying government its majority. Gov. saved by speaker’s casting vote
  • Round 2 - Nov 2011 - FD abstains on an Opposition motion of no confidence in Transport Minister Austin Gatt. Minister saved by speaker’s casting vote. Then votes with Gov on confidence motion presented by Gov. 
  • Dec 2011 - FD warns Dr Gonzi he will withdraw parliamentary support unless the promise to split the justice and home affairs portfolios by year’s end is fulfilled.
  • Jan 2012 - After Cabinet reshuffle, FD calls for PM’s resignation and insists he will vote against the government if a vote of no confidence were presented in Parliament.
  • Round 3 - Jan 2012 – FD abstains on no confidence motion by opposition, leaving government’s one-seat majority in peril. Gov. Saved by speaker’s casting vote
  • Feb 2012 – Gonzi reconfirmed PN leader after one man race.
  • Round 4 - May 2012 – FD votes against Gov in no confidence vote against Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici. Then votes with Gov on confidence motion presented by Gov. in June. 
FD has increased his criticism towards the government and definitely increased his actions - not attending parliament, abstaining against a minister, abstaining against the government and then voting against a minister. So what's next? I think there are 4 possible scenarios.  
  1. Franco gives up and shuts up. 
  2. Round 5 - not many options left other than voting against the Government. and in October-November he will have ample opportunities to do so during the budget. 
  3. Gonzi and Franco reach an agreement on the reforms FD wants to see introduced. This will make Franco look stronger and right.
  4. PM calls an early election.
I don't think Franco will give up and had the PM been in a position to call an early election, he would have done so. After what happened these last few days my personal bet would be on scenario no. 3. 

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