Malta celebrates Republic Day

Malta became a Republic 48 years ago on 13 December 1974

The State's highest honours are bestowed on Republic Day
The State's highest honours are bestowed on Republic Day

Malta is celebrating 48 years since becoming a Republic on 13 December 1974, when the country cut all ties with the British Crown.

The day is a national holiday and comes as a boon for retailers hoping to cash in on some Christmas shopping.

Sir Anthony Mamo was appointed by the Maltese parliament as the first head of state and remains to this day the only person from outside politics to have occupied the post.

Malta has had nine presidents and one acting president since 1974.

The incumbent, George Vella, is the 10th president and was appointed by parliament in 2019 to serve a five-year term.

Presidents so far only needed a simple majority in parliament to be appointed but the next president will have to be appointed by a two-thirds majority after the Constitution was amended recently.

The day is marked by an Armed Forces of Malta parade in Valletta, followed by an investiture ceremony at the Palace, where chosen people are bestowed with the country's highest honours for good deeds and services they rendered to the country and community.

The day is also an occasion for the president to address the nation.

Presidents since 1974

  • Sir Anthony Mamo: 1974 – 1976
  • Anton Buttigieg: 1976 – 1981
  • Agatha Barbara: 1982 – 1987
  • Paul Xuereb (acting): 1987 – 1989
  • Censu Tabone: 1989 – 1994
  • Ugo Mifsud Bonnici: 1994 – 1999
  • Guido de Marco: 1999 – 2004
  • Eddie Fenech Adami: 2004 – 2009
  • George Abela: 2009 – 2014
  • Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca: 2014 – 2019
  • George Vella: 2019 –