Ten people with a disability are contesting the local council and MEP elections: nine people are candidates for the local councils, and one candidate is running for the European Parliament. The Commissioner for the Rights of People with a Disability, Oliver Scicluna said that this is a positive step and wishes that more people with a disability would enter the world of politics.
On 25 May, these ten candidates will be hoping to make a difference in the lives of others. Four candidates will be contesting on the Nationalist Party ticket, five with the Labour Party and another candidate will be contesting for the Moviment Patrijotti Maltin.
Mr Scicluna said that this augers well because he believes that only in this way can the mentality in the disability sector as well as in society in general, change. He said that at present there are 19,000 people with a disability in Malta and Gozo registered with the Commission and therefore they need to represent them at a political level.
“I believe that if we had more people with a disability at the local council, European as well as Parliamentary level, the policies and laws would reflect their needs because they would be coming from what we have to go through every day.”
Matthew Chetcuti, 28, did not allow his disability to be an obstacle when he decided to run for politics for the first time.
“Someone with a disability is a normal person, who may have different needs, but their abilities or the good things they do when it comes to politics, are the same as any other candidate who does not have a disability.”
Marica Bayliss has already gone through this experience and has been serving at a local council for the last 15 years.
“I was very happy to see that those with special needs, even those in a wheelchair are contesting. Before it never used to occur to anyone that this could be done, but I was already in that situation when they amputated my legs.”
During a meeting with the candidates, Mr Scicluna said that he was proposing to set up a special fund so that candidates with special needs can be helped to contest the elections to overcome some of the major disadvantages they have because of their disabilities.