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Maltese NGO Wants The Island’s Migrants To Be Given Voting Rights

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Maltese NGO Aditus Director Neil Falzon was interviewed on TVM stating that the NGO believes migrants in Malta should be allowed to vote in local council elections, given that they have been living on the island for a number of years.

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The TVM interview with Neil Falzon

In the interview, Falzon said the foundation believes that if a person is paying taxes and contributing to society, then they should be eligible to take part in politics in Malta.

The country’s demographics are changing, and Falzon said the political space in Malta should also represent this.

“Malta isn’t as it was 20 years ago and we believe that politics should reflect the community. If the community is made up of different people of different religion, sexuality and background, why isn’t this reflected in politics?”

When asked how he thinks the Maltese population would react to his proposal, Falzon was quick to admit that since Malta’s population is so small, there tends to be a disapproval of foreigners on our island. When it comes to people of colour, or those perceived as being Muslim, then there is a tendency for displays of hate due to the lack of information.

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Shot of a migrant in Malta taken from the TVM interview with Neil Falzon

Falzon’s proposal comes in light of separate report by TVM this week on Żebbuġ migrant Karim who has become so integrated in the community that he visits the St Philip band club at Żebbuġ for a cup of tea and some pastizzi. And Karim was even brought up as Muslim.

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The TVM interview on Karim

Falzon isn’t the first to bring up non-EU voters’ rights in Malta

Last December, Helena Dalli’s proposal “Voting Rights in Local Elections for Third-Country Nationals (TCNs)” was shutdown by the Maltese Cabinet, MaltaToday reported.

Equality minister Helena Dalli found no support from any of the Cabinet ministers when she asked for the go-ahead to launch a study into the possibility of allowing foreigners from outside the EU residing in Malta to vote in local council elections after 2019.

A minister was even quoted by a MaltaToday source to have asked if “we wanted an African mayor in Marsa.” Since her proposal was rejected by Cabinet, no discussion was actually held since Dalli’s proposal found no support among her colleagues.

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Minister Helena Dalli

In April 2018, a Eurobarometer survey found that 60% of the Maltese do not consider granting immigrants the vote in local election as beneficial to their integration.

Only 35% of Maltese think the acquisition of citizenship is important for integration. This contrasts with the view of citizens in 24 Member States, in which a majority of respondents think it is important.

What do you think about allowing migrants to vote in local elections? Let us know in the comments

READ NEXT: Asylum Seekers Stuck On Boat In Maltese Waters Are Now Refusing Food After 17 Days At Sea

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