The Council of Europe has called for a “far-reaching reform” of Malta's parliament.

In a draft resolution approved on Thursday, the council acknowledged how developments following the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia brought to light a “deeply rooted political and social polarisation in the Maltese society and a systemic malfunctioning of democratic institutions in the country”.

The resolution came as part of a monitoring process to take stock of the honouring of membership obligations by Malta and the functioning of its democratic and rule of law institutions

While acknowledging recent reforms by Malta, the council resolution says further reforms of Malta’s democratic institutions and system of checks and balances are still urgently needed.

A key aspect of these reforms should be a far-reaching reform of the Maltese Parliament, with a view to establishing a full-time parliament that can provide proper parliamentary oversight and regain legislative initiative, the resolution says.

This, the council says, would also allow Malta to address a series of important vulnerabilities of its political institutions to conflicts of interest and corruption.

The council said Malta’s part-time parliament undermines its capacity for legislative initiative as well as its capacity to provide proper parliamentary oversight over the executive.

In addition, the need for members of parliament to have secondary employment increases the vulnerability of parliament to corruption and conflicts of interest.

The council said a full-time parliament would be able to provide proper parliamentary oversight and regain legislative initiative.

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