The Malta Independent 20 May 2022, Friday

Pope set to visit Malta in April, as March election rumours begin

Tuesday, 25 January 2022, 18:29 Last update: about 5 months ago

Pope Francis is set to visit Malta on 2 and 3 April, sparking rumours that an election will have to be slated for March.

Times of Malta reports that the Vatican has informed the Maltese government that the pontiff is willing to travel to Malta before Easter.

It had earlier indicated that the pope would not have wished to visit Malta before the coming election, and the news of his visit on 2 Apil has therefore is leading to speculation that an election will be called for March.

This is the third date to be set for Pope Francis' visit.

He had been scheduled to visit in May 2020, but that had to be postponed because of the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The second date mentioned was the first week of December 2021, but then again the visit was postponed as the Vatican made it clear that it would not be drawn into having the pope come over before the election.

The new date is the first weekend of April and, if this is so and if the Vatican continues to insist that the visit is held after the election, it is likely that Malta will go to the polls in March.

With the Covid-19 numbers going down daily and with opinion polls continuing to favour Labour and PM Robert Abela, it is possible that an election could be called in the next few days and held in the first half of March.

A few days ago, Parliament also approved amendmanets to the general elections law to allow people in quarantine the possibility to cast their preference.

Pope Benedict XVI was the last pope to visit Malta, in 2010. Pope John Paul II had earlier visited twice, in 1990 and 2001.



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