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Malta votes on divorce today

Voters will head to the polls today in a historic consultative referendum on divorce.

The Electoral Commission confirmed yesterday 20,775 voting documents remained uncollected by midnight on Thursday. According to the October Electoral Register there were 325,157 eligible voters. The number of uncollected votes represents six per cent of voters.

Polling stations open at 7 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. in what is to mark the climax of a process started last year when Nationalist MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando presented a Private Member’s Bill on divorce that was later co-sponsored by Labour MP Evarist Bartolo.

Voters will be faced with a question requiring a simple yes (yellow box) or no (brown box) answer.

The question on the ballot paper is: “Do you agree with the introduction of the choice of divorce in the case of a married couple who has been separated or has been living apart for at least four years and where there is no reasonable hope for reconciliation between the spouses, while at the same time ensuring that adequate maintenance is guaranteed and the welfare of the children is safeguarded?”

The question will be in Maltese and in English.

Vote counting will take place tomorrow at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta with the sorting of votes starting at about 10 a.m. with the result expected about two hours later.

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