Parliament of Malta
Il-Parlament ta' Malta
|Houses||House of Representatives|
|Single transferable vote (not counting members co-opted to fulfill gender quota)|
|26 March 2022|
|Parliament House, Valletta|
The Parliament of Malta (Maltese: Il-Parlament ta' Malta) is the constitutional legislative body in Malta, located in Valletta. The parliament is unicameral, with a democratically elected House of Representatives and the president of Malta. By constitutional law, all government ministers, including the prime minister, must be members of the House of Representatives.
Between 1921 and 1933 the Parliament was bicameral, consisting of a Senate (Senat) as well as a Legislative Assembly (Assemblea Leġiżlattiva).
The House of Representatives (Maltese: Kamra tad-Deputati) is the unicameral legislature of Malta and a component of the Parliament of Malta. The House is presided over by the Speaker of the House. The President of Malta is appointed for a five-year term by a resolution of the House.
The House is composed of an odd number of members elected for one legislative term of five years. Five members are returned from each of thirteen electoral districts using the single transferable vote electoral system, but additional members are elected in cases of dis-proportionality. Since 2022, 12 extra seats are provided to female candidates, as long as they fail to make up 40% of the elected members, leading to a total of 79 MPs after the 2022 election.
MPs are elected from 13 five-seat constituencies by single transferable vote. Candidates who pass the Hagenbach-Bischoff quota in the first round are elected, and any surplus votes transferred to the remaining candidates, who will be elected if this enables them to pass the quota. The lowest ranked candidates are then eliminated one-by-one with their preferences transferred to other candidates, who are elected as they pass the quotient, until all five seats are filled. If a party wins a majority of first preference votes but fails to achieve a parliamentary majority, they are awarded seats to ensure a one-seat majority, if they are one of only two parties to obtain seats. While the ranked preferential system used is technically proportional, the low number of seats per constituency (five) means that parties can only receive seats if they reach at least 16.7% of votes, so smaller parties are excluded from representation. Consequently, Malta has a stable two-party system, with only the Labour Party and Nationalist Party having a realistic chance of forming a government.
In 2018, the national voting age was lowered to 16. In 2021, a gender-corrective mechanism was introduced, with the new Article 52(A) of the Constitution providing for up to 12 additional seats for unelected candidates from "the under-represented sex" in case one of both makes up less than 40% of the elected MPs. As women have never made up more than ~15% of the elected candidates prior to this mechanism, this effectively leads to 12 extra women (6 from each party) in parliament.
Between 1921 and 2015, the House of Representatives was housed in the Grandmaster's Palace in Valletta. Since 4 May 2015 the House of Representatives has met in the Parliament House, near the city gate of Valletta.
The Standing Orders of the House provide for the creation of eight Parliamentary Standing Committees to make parliamentary work more efficient and enhance Parliament's scrutiny functions.
The Standing Committees are:
Other Standing Committees constituted by other statutes include:
There are also select committees and non-official committees.
Main article: 2022 Maltese general election