The Malta Independent 26 February 2024, Monday
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Passport buyers still given the right to vote despite red flags raised by Electoral Commission

Helena Grech Friday, 20 May 2016, 08:01 Last update: about 9 years ago

Desk officers at the Electoral Commission sent e-mails to a number of IIP citizenship holders to inform them that they did not meet the necessary criteria, as laid out by Malta’s Constitution, to be placed on the Electoral Register. Despite this, these same individuals were still given a right to vote in Malta.

In one particular e-mail exchange, an Electoral Commission desk officer sent an e-mail to an IIP citizenship holder about how according to her application, she did not meet the criteria to be able to vote.

This e-mail was forwarded by the applicant to an IIP agent asking him/her to “sort this out.” The IIP agent then e-mailed the Electoral Commission (photo above) to halt the processing of the application. Again, despite the desk officer doing their job, the person was still placed on the Electoral Register.

This begs the question: Why were these applications processed despite both an IIP agent asking for this to be halted and an Electoral Commission employee flagging up irregularities? Whether simple administrative failures are to blame, or other factors, still remains to be seen.

In the e-mails sent by desk officers, it clearly states that the applicant did not meet the requirements, specifically the requirement of needing to have resided in Malta for six months out of 18 prior to the publication of an electoral register. The other two requirements are being in possession of Maltese citizenship and being over 18 years of age.

Desk officers asked applicants to state whether they have resided in Malta for the mandatory six months, since a number of applicants failed to indicate yes or no, despite this being a Constitutional requirement. Applicants were also asked to state their last date/dates of arrival as of 1 April 2014.

From documents seen, it appears that at least 10 of these e-mails have been sent by desk officers to applicants, however applications were processed regardless. From e-mail exchanges seen by this newsroom, it also appears that no applicant bothered to reply to the desk officer in order to clarify their position.

The IIP scheme introduced by the Government at the beginning of this legislature has seemingly allowed a large number of persons who buy citizenship to be given voting rights without Constitutionally having the right to do so.

In addition to this, a high number of these irregular applications were processed on 30 September, just in time to be placed on the October Electoral Register. This also begs the question as to what the hurry is for the processing of such applications when it is in breach of the Constitution to allow the persons in question to vote.

The Nationalist Party filed 91 court cases claiming that 91 individuals should not have the right to vote because this right was given to them in breach of the Constitution. In an exercise carried out by the Opposition, a sample of 100 applications to be placed on the Electoral Register were viewed. The PN explained that from 100, 91 applications did not meet the requirements to be eligible to vote in Malta. 

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