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Small states and constitutional reform: Democracy in Malta

Stanton, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-5211-5617 (2024). Small states and constitutional reform: Democracy in Malta. (1 ed.) In: Morris, C. (Ed.), Making and changing law in small jurisdictions. The World of Small States, 11. (pp. 31-56). Cham, Switzerland: Springer-Verlag. doi: 10.1007/978-3-031-46943-5_3


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: Book Section
Additional Information: This version of the contribution has been accepted for publication, after peer review but is not the Version of Record and does not reflect post-acceptance improvements, or any corrections. The Version of Record is available online at: Use of this Accepted Version is subject to the publisher’s Accepted Manuscript terms of use
Publisher Keywords: corruption; constitutional reform; democracy; Malta; small island
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Departments: The City Law School
The City Law School > Academic Programmes
SWORD Depositor:
[thumbnail of CM v2 Small-States and Constitutional Reform_Democracy in Malta-2.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
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