Responsible Government 

1947 - 1964

After the War a diarchical system of government was introduced by the MacMichael Constitution (1947) which ensured self-government for internal affairs in Malta. It provided for a unicameral system and granted the right of vote to men and women over the age of 21, but such things as defence, immigration, nationality, treaties, postal censorship and other items were considered as 'reserved matters'. Though a number of political parties appeared during this period, the principal two were the Nationalist Party and the Labour Party.

The Labour Party gained a majority in the general elections which were based on proportional representation and Dr Paul Boffa became Prime Minister. The first Parliament was opened by the Duke of Gloucester. A question over economic aid led to a split in the Labour Party and new elections were held in 1950. The Nationalist Party led by Dr Enrico Mizzi was insisting on Dominion Status while the Labour Party led by Mr. Dominic Mintoff was after integration with Britain or self-determination. Dr Mizzi became Prime Minister and formed a minority government. He died in office on 20th December 1950 and was replaced by Dr George Borg Olivier who formed two successive coalitions with Dr Boffa, in 1951 and 1953.

In 1953 NATO established its regional headquarters (Cincafmed) in Malta under Lord Louis Mountbatten. At the time Government was proposing to transfer Malta to the Commonwealth Relations Office but the Colonial Secretary offered to transfer it to the Home Office. The results of the General Elections of 1955 returned Mr. Mintoff to power. He put forward the proposal for Integration ensuring political, social and economic union of Malta with Great Britain. The situation was affected by a political-religious quarrel that ensued between Church Authorities and the Malta Labour Party. While Dr Balogh and Mr. Seers presented an economic report on Malta, a Round Table Conference was called by Alan Lennox Boyd, the Colonial Secretary. It met at Lancaster House under the chairmanship of Lord Kilmuir and recommended Maltese members in the House of Commons.

A Referendum about Integration was considered as having given an unclear result - the Nationalists boycotting the voting. Meanwhile proposals to reduce the Defence Expenditure were going to effect the Naval Dockyard employees. The Maltese Government condemned such a threat and on 30th December 1957 a 'Break with Britain Resolution' was approved in Parliament. Events turned to the worse when the Labour Government resigned in April 1958. An Emergency Ordinance was issued and the Constitution was withdrawn. Whilst proposals for Independence started to be made, the Sir Hilary Blood Commission proposed a new Constitution which led to the formation of the "State of Malta" on 3rd March 1962. It was similar to that given to Singapore sometime earlier.

Key Dates - British Period (1947-1964)

1946  National Assembly resulting in 1947 Constitution

1947  Restoration of self Government

1958  The Governor takes over direct administration of the Islands.

1959  Interim Constitution providing for Executive Council.

1961  Blood Constitution published by Order-in-Council. 

           This again provided for a measure of self-government for the “State” of Malta.

1961 Establishment of the Gozo Local Government system.

1964 Malta becomes a Sovereign and Independent state within the Commonwealth. Malta joins the United Nations.