The Malta Independence Constitution of 1964 established Malta as a liberal parliamentary democracy, safeguarding the fundamental human rights of citizens, and guaranteeing a separation between the executive, judicial and legislative powers, with regular elections based on universal suffrage.
Until 1974, Malta was a Constitutional Monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Malta and a Governor-General representing her in Valletta. In December of that year the Constitution was modified: the Head of State henceforth was the President of Malta.
The duties of the Head of State continued to be nominal and moral rather than executive; the change of Malta's status did not create a Presidential system of Government. However, constitutionally, executive authority remains vested in the President of Malta and exercised by him or on his account, as was the case previously with the Queen of Malta. The President assents to bills; he prorogues and dissolves Parliament , but except in rare constitutional matters he must act on the advice of the Prime Minister and Ministers or in accordance with it.
Executive power lies with the Prime Minister and Cabinet on the Westminster model.
The appointment of Ministers is a prerogative of the Prime Minister, but appointees have to be Members of Parliament. The Constitution thus embodied and gave expression to the doctrine of popular sovereignty.
Malta's present Head of State is H.E. Mrs. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, K.U.O.M., B.A. (Leg. & Hum. Stud.), Dip. Not. Pub. . The President is elected by the Maltese Parliament for a period of five years.
The State is made up of the following branches:
The Legislative Branch;
The Executive Branch;
The Judicial Branch.
An Office of the Ombudsman has been established to receive complaints on maladministration or injustices. This Office took up the work of the Commission for the Investigation of Injustices, which was set up according to Act XVIII of the year 1989.
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last modified: January 2012