MALTA – “Referendum must decide abortion issue” – new president   

The newly elected president of Malta, Myriam Spiteri Debono (above), will not say whether she would sign an abortion bill: “I have a right to freedom of conscience like everyone else,” she said. But then she said she is personally against abortion.

She thinks a referendum would be the fairest way to decide the “contentious issue of abortion”. And she made it clear that if it is ever to be introduced it should “not be snuck in through the window in some electoral manifesto”

In her first interview with Times of Malta, the 71-year-old president said: “I’m personally against abortion but I won’t speculate further. But let’s not be delusional about this – just like it was introduced in other countries, it will eventually be introduced [here as well]. I speak with many young people, and I’m astonished at how some of them – a few of whom even frequent church – come to believe that abortion is acceptable in certain circumstances.”

“Wherever I served I strived to do what is right. But from the position I have now, I don’t think I should commit myself further so that I don’t influence anyone,” she said. Asked whether there was any law she would not sign, she said she’ll “cross those bridges when she comes to them” but said she “does not think” she would go abroad to avoid signing a law.

In fact, the president of Malta has no executive power to influence or change laws and must sign any bill approved in parliament, unless they go abroad to avoid it.

SOURCE: Times of Malta, by Mark Laurence Zammit, 7 April 2024. Photo: Jonathan Borg