The controversial Bill to amend the Citizenship Act was approved through its  third and final stage in Parliament this evening.

It now only requires the President's signature to become law.

The Opposition called a division and the Bill was approved with 37 government votes in favour and 30 Opposition votes against.

Following a request by the Opposition, MPs were required to stand and declare their vote.

Foreign Minister George Vella and Education Minister Evarist Bartolo were absent. Both are abroad and also missed the first Budget vote earlier.

The Bill provides for the sale of citizenship to foreigners. Opposition leader Simon Busuttil yesterday urged the government to postpone the final vote and engage in fresh talks for changes to the Bill. A small protest was also held outside Parliament earlier today.


In a reaction, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said the government had steamrolled over everybody in the enactment of this law. The Opposition, he said, was not excluding anything, including the possible holding of an abrogative referendum.

Dr Busuttil said that once the Bill and the related legal notice were published, the Opposition would challenge the legal notice in Parliament.

"This is a black day for democracy," he said.

With reference to the advice by the Attorney General published by the Prime Minister, Dr Busuttil said this was advice by the government's lawyer but the Opposition had legal advice to the contrary, meaning that citizenship granted under this programme could be withdrawn.

"Citizenship has no price but it has a value. The government has put a price to it and destroyed its value," Dr Busuttil said.


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