Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Times: Divorce Movement urges government to publish cohabitation law proposals

The government should urgently make public its proposals for a law to regulate cohabitation, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando said at a press conference of the Divorce Movement today.

He said that he had been informed that President George Abela recently asked the government to forward him a draft of the proposed law.

Once the President had seen this draft, it meant that the draft was ready, and it should therefore be made available to MPs and the people should be able to scrutinise it, Dr Pullicino Orlando said.

In that way, the people could decide whether cohabitation or divorce were their best options if their marriage broke down.

He said that the Divorce Movement was not against legislation on cohabitation, but they did not want people whose marriage had broken down to be forced to cohabit because of the absence of divorce which would enable them to remarry.

In appeared, Dr Pullicino Orlando said, that the Cohabitation Bill would be debated in Parliament before the end of the year, even though, he pointed out, the governemnt had no electoral mandate for it - an argument which he said had been made by those who objected to divorce.

That the cohabitation bill had been mentioned in the President's Address at the opening of Parliament did not mean that the government had an electoral mandate.
The divorce referendum was being held precisely because the government had no mandate for its introduction, the Nationalist MP said.

He said that should the introduction of divorce not be approved in the referendum, the divorce motion before Parliament would be withdrawn.

However, should it approved, MPs should respect the will of the people when legislation came before the House. Indeed, he was pleased that the Prime Minister had he would respect the people's will.

Michael Falzon regretted that the governemnt had not yet announced arrangements for eligible voters to be brought to Malta on cheap Air Malta flights in order to vote. He said such arrangements should have been announced two weeks ago. Some 3,000 people came to Malta from abroad in order to be able to vote, he said.

The absence of these people, along with the 2,800 who would not be able to vote because they were not listed in the electoral register, would have a substantial impact on the referendum outcome, he said.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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