They work and spend their money here. Some even invest their savings by opening a business or a company. Shouldn’t they also have a say on how the localities in which they live are governed?
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has thrown cold water on a suggestion made in cabinet by Equality Minister Helena Dalli to grant voting rights to non-EU nationals in local elections, by pointing out that this was not part of the Labour Party’s manifesto, forgetting that even the citizenship by investment programme, which indirectly grants voting rights to those rich enough to buy citizenship, was introduced in 2014 without being in the party’s 2013 manifesto.
But with Malta becoming more cosmopolitan; can it afford to continue denying the vote to a significant minority of third country nationals who already accounted for 3.6% of Malta’s population in 2009?
Still in a context where the greatest concern on migration emerging from surveys is the sensation of being “invaded”, any such proposal is bound to be politically controversial. As reported last week one of the crude reactions of a senior cabinet minister to Dalli’s proposal was that of asking whether “we want an African mayor in Marsa.”