- The Island
Gozo is the second largest island in the Maltese archipelago. It has 37,000 inhabitants who are known as Gozitans. Except for three years in its history, Gozo has been governed directly from its neighboring island of Malta. This three year period began on 28 October 1798 and went on till 20 August 1801 following the French conquest of Malta under the leadership of Napoleon.
In 1987, the Ministry of Gozo was set up under the Government of Malta in an attempt to devolve power to the Gozitan people. In 1993, Local Councils were introduced on the island which meant that there would be local government in Gozo on certain issues. The island has a total of 14 councils and regular elections are held to elect local government leaders.
Since Gozo is a part of Malta, people in Gozo also vote for the Maltese government in elections every five years. Malta is a Parliamentary Republic which has a unicameral Parliament (called the House of Representatives) which consists of 65 members elected from different parts of the country, including Gozo. The President is the head of the state, a position that is largely symbolic and ceremonial.
The Prime Minister heads the Government of Malta, and along with his or her cabinet, they form the Executive branch of the government. The Prime Minister of Malta is appointed by the President, and is typically either the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives or the leader of a majority coalition.
The supreme law of the land in Malta (and Gozo) is the Constitution of Malta, which was first enacted in 1964. Since then, it has undergone two amendments, first in 1974 and then in 1987. Malta became a member of the European Union on 1 May, 2004.
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