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Introduction: Great Britain formally acquired possession of Malta in 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both world wars and remained in the Commonwealth when it became independent in 1964. A decade later Malta became a republic. Since about the mid-1980s, the island has transformed itself into a freight transshipment point, a financial center, and a tourist destination. Malta became an EU member in May 2004 and began using the euro as currency in...

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Political Overview: Malta became independent in September 1964, having been under British rule since 1800. The Constitution of 1964 established Malta as a liberal parliamentary democracy with regular elections based on universal suffrage. Legislative power is held by the unicameral House of Representatives (69 members excluding the Speaker). Members are directly elected for five years (subject to dissolution) on the basis of a single transferable vote system of proportional representation. The Cabinet exercises executive power and is responsible to the Parliament.

In 1974 the Constitution was modified to make Malta a republic. The Head of ...

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History: Malta was an important cultic center for earth-mother worship in the 4th millennium B.C. Archeological work shows a developed religious center there, including the world's oldest free-standing architecture, predating that of Sumer and Egypt. Malta's written history began well before the Christian era. The Phoenicians, and later the Carthaginians, established ports and trading settlements on the ...

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International Relations: Relations with Neighbours


Malta has had strong economic ties with Libya and its North African neighbours, and worked hard prior to the current uprising to ensure that political relations remained warm. There were four Maltese PM/DPM level visits to Libya prior to March 2011, the most recent by the PM in early February 2011. Regular meetings at Ministerial level with Libya used to cover three main areas of mutual concern: Off shore oil exploration, fisheries and illegal seaborne immigration from sub Saharan Africans departing from Libya. Libya was an attractive market for Maltese manufacturers and ...

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