Constitution of Malta Guide May 2024 ๐Ÿ“–

The Constitution of Malta stands as the supreme legal framework, governing the island nation since its independence and transition into a republic.

This article by our authors at Laws of Malta delves into the constitutional development, its nature, past iterations, and significant amendments, culminating in the present-day Constitution that shapes Malta’s legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

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๐Ÿ“— Read the Constitution Below

For those interested in exploring the Constitution of Malta in detail, including its historical context, amendments, and current applications, the Maltese Constitution is accessible below.

These resources provide invaluable insights into Malta’s legal and societal framework, offering a deeper understanding of how the Constitution has shaped the Republic of Malta’s democratic principles and governance.

The Constitution of Malta serves as a testament to the nation’s resilient and adaptive legal and political landscape. From its inception to the present day, the Constitution reflects Malta’s journey towards a balanced, democratic society that respects the rule of law and the rights of its citizens.

๐Ÿ“— Frequently Asked Questions about the Constitution of Malta

What is the Constitution of Malta?

The Constitution of Malta is the supreme law that outlines the structure of the nation’s government, the distribution of powers among its branches, and the fundamental rights of its citizens, established upon Malta’s independence in 1964 and becoming a republic in 1974.

When did Malta become a republic?

Malta became a republic on December 13, 1974, following a constitutional amendment that transitioned the nation from a monarchy within the Commonwealth to a republic with a President as the head of state.

How are the members of Malta’s House of Representatives elected?

Members of Malta’s House of Representatives are elected through a general election held at least every five years, using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) system in thirteen electoral districts.

Has the Constitution of Malta been amended to include rights regarding sexual orientation and gender identity?

Yes, the Constitution of Malta was amended on April 14, 2014, to include anti-discrimination provisions covering sexual orientation and gender identityโ€‹.

How does Malta’s Constitution address the separation of powers?

Malta’s Constitution ensures the separation of powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government, each with distinct roles and responsibilities to prevent the concentration of power and protect democratic governanceโ€‹.

๐Ÿ“˜ Constitutional Development Since Independence

Malta’s journey to its current constitutional form began with its independence from the United Kingdom on 21 September 1964. The original constitution established Malta as a liberal parliamentary democracy.

A pivotal moment in Malta’s constitutional evolution was on 13 December 1974, when the constitution was revised, and Malta was declared a republic within the Commonwealth.

This change saw the introduction of the Maltese President as the executive authority, replacing the British monarch.

The President, appointed by Parliament, appoints the Prime Minister and, upon the Prime Minister’s recommendation, the cabinet ministers from among the members of the House of Representatives.

Malta’s constitution ensures the separation of powers among the executive, judicial, and legislative branches, with general elections held at least every five yearsโ€‹.

๐Ÿ“˜ The Nature of the Constitution

The Maltese Constitution, shaped by its historical and geographical context, is a blend of British parliamentary principles and Mediterranean legal traditions.

It distinguishes Malta as a liberal parliamentary democracy that respects the fundamental human rights of its citizens, including the separation of powers among the government’s branches.

It specifically acknowledges the Roman Catholic Church as the state religion while ensuring the provision of religious education within compulsory education.

The constitution’s evolution reflects a blend of British control, self-government phases, and the eventual independence, with the 1964 Constitution serving as a cornerstone for Malta’s sovereign governanceโ€‹.

๐Ÿ“— Past Constitutions

Before achieving its current state, Malta was governed by a series of constitutions.

These ranged from periods of total British control to self-governance phases, leading up to the 1964 Independence Constitution.

Notably, the 1961 Constitution, also known as the Blood Constitution, laid the groundwork for Malta’s independence, establishing a unicameral legislature and a Cabinet responsible for the government’s general direction and managementโ€‹.

๐Ÿ“— Amendments

Since its adoption, the Constitution of Malta has undergone various amendments to address evolving societal and political landscapes.

These include adjustments to electoral laws to prevent gerrymandering, the introduction of anti-discrimination provisions covering sexual orientation and gender identity, and reforms to reduce the Prime Minister’s powers, following recommendations by the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.

Key amendments were made in the years following the initial adoption, with significant acts in 1965, 1966, 1967, and subsequent years leading to more inclusive and balanced governanceโ€‹โ€‹.

๐Ÿ“˜ EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

Malta’s accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004 marked a significant milestone, further influencing its constitutional framework.

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights has played a crucial role in shaping Malta’s commitment to human rights, adding an extra layer of rights protection that complements its constitution.

This integration illustrates Malta’s ongoing evolution towards a system that respects international legal standards while retaining its unique constitutional identity.

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Last Updated on 4 May, 2024