Malta has a paralysing culture of patronage and clientelism that is present in social practices and reflected in the poor design and weaknesses of the country’s institutions. These weaknesses are fatal, having enabled and facilitated the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Transparency International’s annual reports on Malta consistently point out that Malta’s major problems are patronage (‘korruzjoni’) and clientelism. These are problems that are at once systemic -- in the sense that they are exacerbated by poor institutional design or implementation and legal loopholes -- and cultural in the sense patronage and clientelism have not been shown to be punishable and are therefore culturally accepted.
The overall objective of the project is to strengthen democracy and the rule of law in Malta by setting precedents, changing systems and changing culture and, as a consequence, increasing citizenship participation in the judicial, legislative and administrative mechanisms that exist in Malta.
This will be done by establishing and supporting a network of public interest litigation lawyers, using legal cases to force institutional reform and accountability, and exploring the use of national and international mechanisms to ensure democratic accountability and setting legal and political precedents that influence national laws and policies. In the process this project aims to educate a significant portion of the population on the advantages of a system based on the rule of law and respect for human rights versus one of patronage, clientelism and official abuse.
Through the network set up by this project, victims of discrimination, human rights violations, abuse of power, and state collusion in criminal activity will have access to justice.