Parliament has postponed a debate on new rules for a general election during the COVID pandemic to Wednesday. 

Ahead of the debate originally set for Monday, Speaker Anġlu Farrugia said that both sides of the house had reached an agreement to postpone the discussion by a couple of days.

Nationalist MP Robert Cutajar said that the government and the opposition would be meeting ahead of the rescheduled debate, to discuss points of disagreement on the proposed legislation. 

The bill seeks to regulate voting for those suffering from a "notifiable disease" or in mandatory quarantine. 

Times of Malta has already reported that the government is considering introducing drive-through polling booths to allow people who test positive for COVID to vote in the next general election, which must be held this year. 

Labour Party sources have confirmed that their internal election strategy team has been working on launching an election campaign in the coming months.  It is understood that Prime Minister Robert Abela is considering calling for an election to take place either in early March or alternatively in June when the government’s five-year term ends. 

The bill proposing amendments ahead of an expected election does not delve into specific details on how the process of drive-through voting is expected to work, saying that the Superintendent of Public Health shall hand a list of people in quarantine to the Electoral Commission, and the commission, in consultation with the superintendent, shall designate the date and place where such people may vote. 

Such voting may take place days before the actual polling day.  

Chief Electoral Commissioner Joe Camilleri, together with political party representatives and Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci have been working on the set of protocols since last year.

These include protocols for ‘managed’ mass meetings, with authorities pushing to restrict the number of people allowed into the counting hall, a situation expected to be aided by the introduction of electronic counting.

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