Political Structure of Malta
Malta is a Parliamentary Republic. It was a British colony from 1800 until its independence on 21 September 1964. The Republic was proclaimed on 13 December 1974. Legislative power is held by a unicameral Parliament (House of Representatives), made up of 65 members elected for five years. This single member constituency system permits a plurality premium. The Head of State is the President, elected by the House of Representatives for a five-year term and who has an essentially ceremonial and symbolic role. Executive power lies with the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. The Prime Minister, appointed by the President for a five-year term, is the leader of the majority party or of a majority coalition in Parliament. Ministers are appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The Constitution of Malta was adopted in 1964 and substantially amended in 1974 and again in 1987.
Malta became a member of the European Union on 1 May 2004.
Malta's current Head of State is President George Abela since April 2009.