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Independent Malta (1964 – to date)

Today, Malta is a parliamentary democracy. The government is headed by a prime minister with a ceremonial presidency. Italy is an important cultural influence because of the island's proximity to Sicily and the easy reception of Italian television programs.

Independence was achieved in 1964 (21st September), and Dr. Borg Olivier became Prime Minister. Dom Mintoff’s MLP won the 1971 elections and began to pursue a policy of neutrality, reaching treaties with Libya, Italy and the then USSR, amongst other states. In 1979 the British military base was closed. The government signed finalized agreements with Libya, the Soviet Union (October 1981) and North Korea, much to the chagrin of Britain and its allies. Malta sought to guarantee its neutrality through these agreements. The Mintoff administration also sought an agreement with the United States. In May 1987, 16 years of MLP rule and flirtation with Communism came to an end and Dr. Edward (Eddie) Fenech Adami of the Christian Democratic Nationalist Party (PN) became Prime Minister. Close contacts with Libya were maintained, and relationships with Western governments have improved. Between 1987 and 1996, Fenech Adami's government embarked on a programme of economic liberalisation and applied to join the European Union in 1990. After two years in opposition, Eddie Fenech Adami returned to power in 1998 when he revived Malta's bid for EU membership. The centre-right government had followed the general European pattern of liberalising the economy. Fenech Adami's Nationalist Party was returned to power in a general election in April 2003. The result was further confirmation of Malta's determination to accept a formal invitation to join the EU following a referendum on the issue the previous month. Opposition Labour Party leader Alfred Sant had said that he would not sign the EU accession treaty if he won the election. The PN government lead Malta towards membership of the European Union.

On 8th March 2003, Malta voted to join the European Union in a popular referendum. 53.6% voted in favour; 46.4% voted against. On 1st May 2004 Malta joins the European Union. On 1st January 2008 Malta adopts the Euro as single currency.

In a referendum on 28th May 2011 a majority of 52.67% voted in favour of the introduction of a divorce law. Parliament subsequently approved a divorce law on 25th July 2011, which will take effect in October 2011.

Next General Elections: March 2013.

Find detailed chronology here: History 09

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