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Malta To Allow Local Councils To Meet Online With Law Change In Pipeline

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Malta is set up update its local council legislation to allow councillors to convene online and in other locations besides the council premises.

A spokesperson for Local Government Minister Jose Herrera confirmed with Lovin Malta that the Ministry is working on amendments to the Local Councils Act which will be presented to Parliament in the near future.

“In light of recent events and to provide a solution where conducting a meeting at the administrative offices is not justifiably possible, the Ministry is in the process of making the necessary amendments to the current legislation in order to make it possible for Local Council meetings to be held at any other ‘place’ as established by a directive of the Director,” he said.

Local councils were instructed to go online when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Malta last March but physical meetings have since resumed.

A meeting of the St Julian's local council last February

A meeting of the St Julian's local council last February

When councillors urged the Local Government Department to allow them return online in the wake of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, they were merely told that the law doesn’t permit it.

Indeed, the Local Councils Act explicitly states that any council meeting must held at their administrative offices but this was sidelined by the Local Government Department in the chaos that ensued at the start of the pandemic.

Yesterday, St Julian’s mayor Albert Buttigieg urged the government to allow local councils to start meeting up through Zoom again in the wake of a surge in COVID-19 cases, warning that their office is small and has no window, rendering social distancing practically impossible.

Councillors Sean Gauci and Guido Dalli have warned they will boycott physical local council meetings in protest at the government’s reluctance to allow Zoom meetings.

And it seems change is now on its way…

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