Politics of Malta

The  politics of Malta  takes place within the framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic , where the President of Malta is the constitutional head of state. Executive Authority is vested in the President of Malta with the general direction and control of the Government of Malta remaining with the Prime Minister of Malta who is the head of government and the cabinet. Legislative power is vested in the Parliament of Malta which consists of the President of Malta and the unicameral House of Representatives of Malta with theSpeaker presiding officer of the legislative body. Judicial power remains with the Chief Justice and the Judiciary of Malta . Since Independence , the party has been dominated by the Christian Democratic Nationalist Party (  Partit Nazzjonalista  ) and the Social Democratic Labor Party (  Partit Laburista  ).

The Economist Intelligence Unit has rated Malta as “ full democracy “ in 2016.  [1]

Political developments since independence

Since independence, two parties have dominated Malta’s polarized and evenly divided politics during this period: the center-right Nationalist Party and the center-left Labor Party . Third parties have failed to score any presidential election since 1962 general election . In the 2013 election , the Democratic Alternative (a green party established in 1989) managed to secure only 1.80% of the first preference votes nationwide.

The 1996 elections resulted in the election of the Labor Party, by 8,000 votes, to replace the Nationalists who had won in 1987 and 1992. Voting turnout was characteristically high at 96%, with the Labor Party receiving 50.72%, the Nationalist Party 47.8% , the Democratic Alternative 1.46%, and independent candidates 0.02%. In 1998, the Labor Party’s vote in favor of the Prime Minister to call an early election. The Nationalist Party was returned to office in September 1998 by a majority of 13,000 votes, holding a five-seat majority in Parliament. Voter turnout was 95%, with the Nationalist Party receiving 51.81%, the Labor Party 46.97%, the Democratic Alternative 1.21%, and independent candidates 0.01%.

The Nationalist Government wrapped up negotiations for European Union membership by the end of 2002. A referendum on the issue was called in March 2003 for which the Nationalists and the Democratic Alternative Campaigned for a „yes“ vote while Labor campaign heavily „no“ vote , invalidate their vote or abstain. Turnout was 91%, with more than 53% voting „yes“.

The Labor Party argued that the „yes“ votes amounted to less than 50% of the overall votes, hence, citing the 1956 Integration referendum as an example, they claimed that the „yes“ had not in fact won the referendum. The then MLP Leader Alfred Sant said that the General Elections would be held within a month of business. In the General Elections the Nationalists were returned to office with 51.79% of the vote to Labor’s 47.51%. The Democratic Alternative managed 0.68%. The Nationalists were able to form a government and signed the EU Accession Treaty on 16 April 2003.

On May 1, 2004 Malta joined the EU and on January 1, 2008, the Eurozone with the euro as the national currency. The first elections after membership were held in March 2008 resulting in a narrow victory for the Nationalist Party with 49.34% of first preference votes. In May 2011, a nationwide referendum was held on the introduction of divorce . This was the first time in the history of a parliament that had been approved by Parliament.

In March 2013, the slim majority enjoyed by the Nationalists was overturned dramatically with the Labor Party returning to Government after fifteen years in Opposition. A record-breaking vote disparity of 36,000 was achieved by the Labor Party leading the resignation of the Nationalist leader Lawrence Gonzi

In June 2017, after a snap election was called by the Labor Party on its May Day celebrations. The record-breaking vote by the Labor Party in 2013 was again increased to around 40,000 votes. The new leader of the opposition Simon Busuttil announced his resignation becoming the first political leader of the two parties.

Executive branch

Under its 1964 constitution, Malta became a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom was sovereign of Malta, and a Governor-General exercised executive authority, while the actual direction and control of the government and the nation were in the hands of the cabinet under the leadership of a Maltese prime minister.

On December 13, 1974, the constitution was revised, and Malta became a republic within the Commonwealth, with executive authority vested in the President of Malta which can be exercised directly or through officers subordinate to him. The president is elected by the House of Representatives for a five-year term. He camp as Prime Minister the leader of the party with a majorité of seats in the unicameral House of Representatives, Known in Maltese as  Kamra tad-Deputati  .

The President also nominally added, upon recommendation of the Prime Minister, the individual ministers. The majority of the members of the House of Representatives are members of the House of Representatives who are elected members of the House of Representatives. Elections must be held at least every 5 years and the electoral system used is single transferable vote .

Administrative divisions

Malta is divided into 68 local councilors , with each council responsible for the administration of cities or regions of varying sizes. Administrative responsibility is distributed between the local councils and the central government in Valletta. The Local Councils Act, 1993 (Act XV of 1993) was published on June 30, 1993, subdividing Malta into 54 local councils in Malta and 14 in Gozo . The inhabitants who are registered as Local Councils Electors. Elections are held by the system of proportional representation using the single transferable vote. The mayor is the head of the Local Council and the representative of the Council for all effects under the Act. The Executive Secretary, who is appointed by the Council, is the executive, administrative, and financial head of the Council. All decisions are taken collectively with the other members of the Council. Local councils are responsible for the general upkeep and embellishment of the locality, local wardens, and refuses collection, and carry out general government duties for the central government such as the collection of government rents and funds, and answering government-related public inquiries.

There are also Administrative Committees elected with responsibility for smaller regions.

Legislative branch

Elections to the House of Representatives (  Kamra tad-Deputati  ) are based on the single transferable vote system, a variant of the proportional representation electoral system. First vacancies are filled through casual electionsand subsequent vacancies through co-option, meaning that no by-elections are held between one general election and the other. The parliamentary term can not exceed five years.

Ordinarily, 65 members are elected to the House from 13 multi-seat constituencies each returning 5 MPs. Additional MPs are elected in two circumstances:

  • When a party achieves 50% + 1 of first-preference valid votes in the election
  • Member States de l’assurance de la concurrence et la concurrence des parties de la concurrence et la concurrence des droits de la concurrence et la concurrence des droits de la concurrence.

A third electoral amendment has been enacted which guarantees strict proportionality with respect to votes and seats to parliamentary political groups.

Political parties and elections

For other political parties, see List of political parties in Malta . An overview on elections and elections is included in Elections in Malta .
Party votes % seats +/-
Labor Party 170.976 55.04 37 -2
Forza Nazzjonali ( PN – PD )  [a] 135.696 43.68 30 -1
Democratic Alternative 2,564 0.80 0 0
Moviment Patrijotti Maltin 1,117 0.36 0 New
Alleanza Bidla 221 0.07 0 New
Independents 91 0.03 0 0
Invalid / blank votes 4,031
Total 314.696 100 67 -2
Registered voters / turnout 341.856 92.06
Source: Electoral Commission
  1. Jump up^  According to reports from the Times of Malta , the Democratic Party candidates received 4,846 (1.56%) of the votes cast for Forza Nazzjonali.  [2]
  1. Jump up^   solutions, EIU digital. „Democracy Index 2016 – The Economist Intelligence Unit“ .  www.eiu.com  . Retrieved 2017-11-29 .
  2. Jump up^  Blog: Muscat sworn in as Prime MinisterTimes of Malta, 5 June 2017

Judicial branch

The Court of Justice in Valletta

The Judiciary system in Malta included Inferior Courts, Civil and Criminal Courts of Appeal, and a Constitutional Court.  [1]  Inferior courts are presided over by a magistrates who have original jurisdiction in criminal and civil actions. In the Criminal Courts, the presiding judge sits with a jury of nine. The Court of Appeal and the Court of Criminal Appeal hear appeals from the decisions of the civil and criminal actions respectively.

The highest court, the Constitutional Court, has both original and appellate jurisdiction. In its appellate jurisdiction it adjudicates cases involving violations of human rights and the interpretation of the Constitution. It can also perform judicial review . In its original jurisdiction it has jurisdiction over disputed parliamentary elections and electoral corrupt practices.

There is a legal aid scheme lacking the means to afford legal defense.  [1]

According to the Constitution, the President appoints the Chief Justice of Malta and the judges of the Prime Minister of Malta . Guarantees for the independence of the judiciary include the security of tenure for judges at 65, or until impeachment . The impeachment procedure for the judgments of the President of the House of Representatives is based on a two-thirds majority of its members. Impeachment may be based on the jurisdiction of the judiciary or the courts, or may be misused by the Commission for the Administration of Justice. The independence of the judiciary is also guaranteed by the constitutional requirement that the judges be paid from the Consolidated Fund and thus the government may not diminish or amend them to their prejudice.

The Maltese system is considered in line with the principles of separation of powers and of the independence of the judiciary. However, in its pre-accession evaluation reports, the European Commission has suggested in 2003 the need to reform the procedure for the appointment of the members of the judiciary, currently „controlled by political bodies“ (ie the Parliament and parts therein), in order to improve its objectivity.  [1]  The Commission has also pointed to the requirement for compliance with the rule of law and the provision of judicial review in the European Court of Human Rights. Rights .  [2]

International organization participation

Malta is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations , EC , EBRD , ECE , EU (member from 1 May 2004), FAO , IAEA , IBRD , ICAO , ICCt , ICFTU , ICRM , IFAD , IFRCS , ILO , IMF , IMO , Inmarsat , Intelsat , Interpol , IOC , IOM , ISO , ITU ,OPCW , OSCE , PCA , UN , UNCTAD , UNESCO , UNIDO , UPU , WCL , WCO , WHO , WIPO , WMO , WToO , WTrO

Malta was a long time member of the Non-Aligned Movement . It ceased to be part of the movement when it joined the European Union.

See also

  • malta
  • Nationalist Party
  • Labor Party
  • Democratic Alternative
  • Mass meeting



  1. ^ Jump up to: c  European Commission , Malta pre-accession report 2003, p.13
  2. Jump up^  European Commission, Malta pre-accession report 2002, p.17