Constitution of Malta

Status: Republic

Legislature: Parliament of Malta

Independence: 21 September 1964

Under the 1964 constitution – amended in 1974 and 1987 –Maltais a democratic republic with a unicameral House of Representatives of at least 65 members. The country has proportional representation using the single transferable vote system. A party which obtains a majority of votes but minority of seats is allocated additional seats to give it an overall majority of one. The House may not sit for longer than five years.

The president is the head of state and is elected for a five-year period of office by the House of Representatives. The incumbent has executive authority but must act on the cabinet’s advice and the position is therefore largely ceremonial. The prime minister and leader of the opposition are both appointed by the president. The cabinet is appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister. All appointees must be members of parliament.

Under the constitution, Roman Catholic Christianity is the state religion and must be taught in state schools.