Malta: Country and Foreign Investment
Malta is a politically stable parliamentary democracy on the Westminster model, based on the Constitution of 1964 (modified in 1974). The President is the Head of State, but executive power lies with the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Ministers are appointed from among elected MPs. Malta has declared itself neutral territory.
There is a single House of Representatives, with 65 members elected on a single, transferable vote system. The pro-European Nationalist Party was confirmed in power in elections in April, 2003. The PN gained a majority of over 51% from a very high turnout of 96%, in what was seen as the most crucial election in the country's history. The result was interpreted as a confirmation of a yes vote in an EU referendum in March, bringing to an end months of emotional and often bitter debate on the subject of EU membership. The status quo was maintained after the March 2008 election. Following a budget row in December 2012 after which parliament was dissolved, general elections were held one year early in March 2013. T he Labour Party won 55% of the vote. The Nationalist Party received 43%.
Malta's judiciary is independent. The chief justice and seventeen judges are appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister after consultation with the leader of the opposition. The senior court is the Constitutional Court, which has limited jurisdiction; there is a Court of Appeal which handles most appeals from lower courts. The legal system is based on of civil (Roman) law, but with a strong admixture of English law as would be expected, particularly in commercial and some financial law.