Malta agrees to allow divorces

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The Independent Online

Malta has passed a law allowing its citizens to divorce in their own country.

It has been the only European Union nation without divorce legislation. Up to now, Maltese citizens could only obtain divorce abroad. In the last 30 years, 785 Maltese couples divorced this way, with numbers gradually rising from seven in 1981 to 47 in 2010.

The law takes effect in October, after Malta's president signs it.

Parliament passed the law today with 52 votes in favour, 11 against and five abstentions, after nearly 53% of voters said "yes" to divorce legislation in a referendum.

The vote was a blow to the ruling Nationalist Party, which had opposed divorce ahead of the referendum.