The Malta Independent 6 December 2023, Wednesday
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Secret citizens eligible to vote

Malta Independent Wednesday, 13 November 2013, 09:00 Last update: about 10 years ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat yesterday said that persons granted citizenship through the government’s new scheme will be allowed to vote in Maltese elections. Dr Muscat published the Attorney General’s advice to the government on the scheme.

The Attorney General made it clear that when the state grants a person citizenship, it cannot then treat such people in a different way to other naturalised citizens. Those same rights and obligations could not then be removed arbitrarily, the Attorney General said. Dr Muscat said that the Attorney General’s advice made it clear that Parliament can revoke the scheme, but it could not repeal citizenships that have already been granted under it, unless there are serious grounds to do so due to some sort of misconduct by the individual. 

The Bill was approved in parliament yesterday evening, with 37 votes in favour and 30 against. Due to the new amendments made to the Citizenship Act, the government will now be able to sell Maltese citizenship to foreign investors, as part of an Individual Investor Programme. However, the programme is not tied to investment and is to be sold for €650,000 each, €10,000 of which will be a non-refundable deposit, as well as €25,000 for the applicant’s spouse and individual children below 18 years of age; or €50,000 for dependant parents aged 55 or over, and unmarried children aged between 18 and 25. During the parliamentary debate leading to the approval of the amendments to the Act, the government assured that the scheme would bring about a good amount of revenue while the Opposition accused the government of prostituting Malta for the paltry sum of €650,000 for each passport.

Black day for democracy

Simon Busuttil PN leader Simon Busuttil said yesterday that the advice received by the Opposition on the citizenship scheme is sound, and citizenship can be with- drawn by a future Nationalist government. Speaking during a press conference held shortly after the final vote in Parliament on the scheme, Dr Busuttil insisted that the Attorney General’s advice was that of the lawyer to the government, and should be treated as such. Dr Busuttil lambasted the government for steamrolling over the Op- position at every stage of the citizenship scheme, calling it a “black day for democracy”. Dr Busuttil said that the PN is not ruling out anything, including an abrogative referendum. He said that the next stage of the PN Opposition of the scheme will be to challenge the legal notice in Parliament.

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