[WATCH] Constitutional reform submissions being analysed, President says

In its entirety, President George Vella is expecting the reform process to last between two and three years

President George Vella
President George Vella
George Vella on the next steps towards Constitutional reform

The constitutional reform process has progressed to the stage where the many proposals submitted by NGOs and individuals will be analysed, President George Vella said.

In its entirety, Vella is expecting the reform process to last between two and three years.

Vella has made it one of his goals as president to pilot the process for reform but speaking to MaltaToday he cautioned against haste.

The various proposals received so far will be analysed and presented in a report.

This, Vella added, would be followed by the drawing up of plans for a constitutional convention, which would consider the issues raised in the report and would ensure that the people have the ultimate say. 

“There were a large number of individuals and NGOs that submitted proposals during the three-month period dedicated for submissions. These will now be analysed objectively, leading to the drawing up of a report on the opinions submitted,” Vella said.

He did not exclude discussions on the report that will take place across different venues in Malta and Gozo, offering people the chance to react.

While it was still early days in terms of determining how the constitutional convention will be formed, Vella said that the public and NGOs will be primary participants in the discussions.

“Those who think [the convention] will be dominated by political parties are wrong. The Constitution is the people’s, and I believe the people need to have the ultimate say. But this is still considerably in the future,” he said.

Vella said that any opinions and recommendations made by the convention will then be passed on to Parliament.

The circumstances might also give rise to the need for a referendum on a particular issue, as was the case for all constitutional amendments in Ireland, he added.

“We are still far away from this stage… My interest is that any change is a change which the people want and that it is done in the interest of the people,” he said, as he cautioned against “change for change’s sake.”

Vella said that the reform should go forward intelligently with a view towards adapting the Constitution to the needs of today.

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