Malta’s hunters want President’s backing to curtail power to call abrogative referenda

Hunting fraternity has petition backed by 104,000 signatures demanding a stop to voters demanding referendum when they collect petition of 10% of voters

Hunters marching in Valletta in 2014 when they presented Parliament with a petition to change the referendum law
Hunters marching in Valletta in 2014 when they presented Parliament with a petition to change the referendum law

Malta’s hunters’ lobby FKNK has written to the President of the Republic, presenting him with over 104,000 signatures for a petition demanding amendments to the Referenda Act.

The FKNK, which previously saw a referendum demanding the abolition of hunting in spring - which is illegal in Europe - fail by just 1,500 votes, wants safeguards to prevent what it claims are “capricious” reasons for calling an abrogative referendum and to protect “minorities”, a reference to the 15,000-strong hunting and trapping community.

The FKNK wants to prevent the power of voters to demand a referendum by collecting a petition of 10% off the Maltese eligible to vote, for the abolition of “a legal, socio-cultural tradition of the Maltese which is a minority when compared to the rest of the Maltese population”.

The FKNK said it had previously presented Labour minister Michael Falzon, a hunter, the petition to consider an amendment of the referendum law in 2014. “The intervention of the President is being requested since the petition has been signed by a considerable proportion of the population, a clear sign that such amendments can safeguard the rights and legal privileges of minorities, including hunters and trappers,” FKNK secretary-general Daniel Xriha.

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