29 May 2011

Divorce referendum being held

6:06 am on 29 May 2011

Malta is holding a referendum on whether to legalise divorce.

The Mediterranean island of 400,000 people is the only country in Europe that does not allow the practice.

Voters will decide whether parliament should introduce a bill allowing couples to divorce, after four years of marital breakdown. The proposal is based on an Irish model.

Nearly all marriages in Malta are held at the altar. Couples at present may only legally separate, without having the right to remarry.

Opinion polls suggest the result could go either way, with 40% of the electorate still undecided.

The result of the referendum will be known on Sunday afternoon.