Malta has a parliamentary republic as a form of government. Malta has been a member of the European Union (EU) since 2004. The constitution of Malata came into effect in 1964, but was declared a republic in 1974.
The president is the head of state and plays a significant role in the formation of government. The prime minister is the head of government and is elected by the president for a term of five years.
The political parties active in Malta are:
· Labour Party
· Nationalist Party
· Democratic Alternative
George Abela has been Malata's president since 2004. Lawrence Gonzi is the current Prime Minister.
(Source: gov.mt, gov.mt)
Malta has a unicameral form of parliament and has legislative powers. The parliament consists of 65 members who are elected for a period of five years.
The executive power rests with the cabinet and consists of the prime minister and other ministers appointed by the prime minister. The central government also has regional branches, but has no local government bodies.
Malta’s economic freedom score is 65.7, making its economy 57th freest in the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom. Malta ranks 25th out of the 43 countries in Europe. Malta's overall score decreased by 1.5 points compared to 2010.
Malta is ranked 37th on the world’s Corruption Perception Index (CPI) in 2010. CPI measures the perceived level of public-sector corruption in 180 countries and territories around the world.
Freedom of information
The Freedom of Information Act provides citizens access to documents in the possession of various public organisations including ministries and government departments.
The World Press Freedom Index 2010 ranks Malta at 14th position with a score of 4.0, indicating low levels of government restriction on the media.
The main newspapers in Malta include:
· Times of Malta
· Malta Independent
· Malta Today
Malta has an independent judicial system. The judiciary consists of judges and magistrates appointed by the president. The chief justice is also appointed by the president.
There are two types of courts, the Superior court and Inferior court.
The judges resolve cases in the superior court. The superior court consists of:
· The Constitutional court
· The Court of Appeal
· The Civil court
· and the Criminal court
The inferior courts are presided over by magistrates. The inferior court consists of the Court of Magistrates (Malta) and the Court of Magistrates (Gozo).
The Constitutional court is the highest court, and is made up of three judges including the Chief Justice. This court resolves cases involving violation of human rights, interpretation of constitution and invalidity of laws.
The Court of Appeal is the final appellate court inmalta in civil matters. The Court of Appeal may consist of three or only one judge depending on the type of case.
The Civil court consists of three sections:
· The general jurisdiction section
· The family section
· The voluntary jurisdiction section
This court deals with civil, commercial and family cases.
The Criminal court hears criminal cases and is the only court which allows public participation in the administration of the justice.