With the European Parliament elections just round the corner, Malta is facing renewed calls to end the disenfranchisement of Maltese nationals who live overseas. The European Commission has repeatedly called on Malta and the five other countries to stop disenfranchising citizens by not allowing them to vote unless they reside in their home countries. The others are: Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. In Malta, the issue is a bone of contention each time a general election rolls around, with political parties lodging court cases to have certain people struck from the electoral register under the voter registration rules in place. Citizens are disenfranchised unless they have resided in Malta for at least six months within the last 18 preceding their registration to vote.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Malta.
Malta has become the second country in the European Union to lower the national voting age to 16. The revised voting age, down from 18, was cemented into law on Monday evening, with MPs voting unanimously in favour of a third reading of a Bill to amend the Constitution to that effect. 16- and 17-year-olds will now be able to cast a vote at national and European parliament elections, having been already granted that right for local council elections back in 2014. Their first opportunity to exercise this new right will come during the 2019 European Parliament elections, with the lowered voting age expected to add up to 8,500 votes to ballot boxes. Politicians from either side of the House were quick to celebrate the news on social media, with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat saying Malta had “made history, again” by passing the law.
Malta: Vote 16 white paper out by March 2018, to open up elections for another 5,000 votes | The Malta Independent
The government will be presenting the white paper on Vote 16 by March of next year paving the way for a potential 5,000 new voters to have their say in upcoming elections. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced this while attending a student debate at the Giovanni Curmi Higher Secondary in Naxxar. The topic was Vote 16 and students were allowed to ask questions to the Prime Minister who was accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary for Reform Julia Farrugia Portelli and the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth Clifton Grima. The Prime Minister said that the vote for 16-year-olds is no longer an issue of whether it will happen or not, but how will it be implemented. “We have a mandate to do pass Vote 16 and we intend to keep our promise.”
Malta: Legislative overhaul ‘will be required if 16 or 17-year-olds are elected mayors’ | The Malta Independent
In the hypothetical situation that a 16 or 17-year-old is elected as a local council mayor, changes will be required to existing legislation, according to Vote 16 committee chairperson Andrew Debattista. Yesterday morning, Parliamentary Secretary for Reform Julia Farrugia Portelli launched a consultation document on voting rights for 16-year-olds, called ‘Vote 16; Empowering Youth’. In the previous legislature, 16-year-olds voted in local council elections, and now there are plans to extend these rights to general elections and those for the European Parliament. The document also questions whether such youngsters could be allowed to contest local elections, with the possibility of becoming mayors if they have the highest number of votes.
Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat won a second term in office after calling a snap parliamentary election last month to counter allegations of corruption against his wife and some of his political allies. Muscat’s Labour Party won 55 percent of votes in Saturday’s election, handing it an absolute majority in the 65-seat parliament, according to political sources on both sides involved in the vote tally. The Labour Party had polled about five percentage points ahead of the rival Nationalist Party going into the vote. Nationalist Party chief Simon Busuttil called Muscat and conceded defeat on Sunday morning.
Yesterday’s voter turnout of 92.07% was the lowest turnout figure since the 1966 election, although it was only less than one percentage point lower than 2013’s turnout figure of 92.98%. In what can be described as a very long and painstaking night in politics, both the Nationalist and Labour parties have spent hours poring over the voter turnout figures in each electoral district, closely analysing who were those who decided to not cast a vote in yesterday’s general election.
The embattled Maltese government has claimed that it has come under attack from a Russian-backed campaign to undermine it, amid worsening relations with the Kremlin. Malta assumed the presidency of Europe’s Council of Ministers in January, an important position under which it chairs high-level meetings in Brussels and sets Europe’s political agenda. Since then, the Maltese government’s IT systems have seen a rise in attacks, according to a source working within its information technology agency, a government body. He claimed the attacks, which have increased ahead of next month’s general election, are designed to damage the government. “In the last two quarters of last year and the first part of this year, attacks on our servers have increased,” the source said.
The Russian spy story continued to reverberate on the campaign trail, as Prime Minister Muscat had to deal with the backlash of ridicule that erupted after his announcement that he had received information from two allied secret services that Russia was behind the Egrant saga. In the morning, the Prime Minister once again reiterated what he had said a day earlier, with much less drama, but he would not be drawn into saying whether he believed the story was true or otherwise. And nobody was expecting him to say yes or no. A “yes” would have brought even more disdain, and open up diplomatic issues, and a “no” would have been an admission that the story was nothing more than an attempt to win some sympathy.
Malta: Russian red herring for breakfast – Why would Putin want to elect Simon Busuttil? | The Malta Independent
Yesterday will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the more bizarre days in Maltese electoral history. But before delving into the somewhat murky waters of the Prime Minister’s cloak and dagger, and diplomatically dangerous, assertions about Russia’s nefarious interests in Maltese political affairs one central question needs to be asked: why, exactly would Vladimir Putin want to see Simon Busuttil elected? The fact of the matter is that if asked to choose a preferred leader of Malta, Putin would no doubt prefer a Socialist Prime Minister who has over his tenure consistently looked east and courted and sold state assets to countries such as Azerbaijan and China over a Christian Democrat who believes so wholeheartedly in the European project.
Malta: Nationalist Party claims it already received reports of defaced voting documents | The Malta Independent
The Nationalist Party has already received several reports of voting documents which were already defaced and had ink removed accidentally. PN Deputy Leader Beppe Fenech Adami said that there were police officers who complained that the fell off and was stuck on the palm of their hand. Dr Fenech Adami this afternoon addressed another press conference on the ‘flimsy documents’ printed by the electoral commission. The PN Deputy Leader yesterday claimed that the new voting documents, which were set to be distributed to households as from today, do not have the necessary safety features, and the ink can be easily wiped off.