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.
The issue is currently before the European Parliament’s Committee on Petitions, and MEP Cecilia Wikström has now raised the issue with the European Commission.
She observes that, “Six EU Member States (Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Malta and the United Kingdom) deprive their nationals of the right to vote in national elections on account of residence abroad, on the basis of the assumption that expatriates are not affected by political decisions taken in their country of origin.