City Research Online

Small states and constitutional reform: democracy in Malta

Stanton, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-5211-5617 (2022). Small states and constitutional reform: democracy in Malta (City Law School Research Paper 2022/09). London, UK: City Law School.


The Republic of Malta is an archipelago of five islands that covers just 122 square miles. Its small size is interesting from a constitutional perspective for the manner in which it impacts upon the nature of its Parliament, the powers of its Government and the strength of its democracy. This chapter examines the relationship between state size and democracy. It argues that whilst the formal features of the Maltese system portray a liberal constitutional democracy, the more informal features undermine this perception. Excessive government power, allegations of corruption and assassination, and weak opportunity for legal and political accountability conspire to present Malta as an imperfect democracy. The chapter discusses recent reforms that attempt to correct this reality and it recommends further changes that are needed to strengthen the Maltese democratic and constitutional order.

Publication Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Additional Information: Copyright 2022, the author. Forthcoming in: Caroline Morris (ed.), Making Law in Small Jurisdictions: Law Creation, Reform and Change (Springer-Verlag, 2023).
Publisher Keywords: corruption; constitutional reform; democracy; Malta; small island
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Departments: The City Law School > Academic Programmes
The City Law School > CLS Working Paper Series
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