30 May 2011

Malta votes in favour of divorce

7:05 am on 30 May 2011

The people of Malta have voted in favour of legalising divorce in a referendum.

Prime minister Lawrence Gonzi said the outcome was not the one he hoped for, but he promised that new legislation allowing couples to divorce will be introduced by parliament.

Almost three-quarters of the electorate voted on Saturday on whether divorce should be introduced.

Malta is the only country in Europe not to allow divorce. The people are mainly Catholic.

Couples can apply for a legal separation through the courts, or seek a Church annulment - a complex process that can take up to nine years.