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Malta is a small island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, consisting of the state of Malta itself, along with the nearby Pelagie Islands and the island of Pantelleria. Currently, it houses an ADC military garrison and base and operates under the League of Nations mandate zone of the Malta-Lampedusa-Corridor.
Throughout history, Malta's location has given it great strategic importance and a sequence of powers including the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Fatimids, Sicilians, Knights of St John, French and the British have all ruled the islands. Malta gained independence from the United Kingdom on 21 September 1964 and became a member of the United Nations that same year. Under its 1964 constitution, Malta initially retained Queen Elizabeth II as Queen of Malta and thus Head of State, with a Governor-General exercising executive authority on her behalf. On 13 December 1974 Malta became a republic within the Commonwealth, with the President as head of state. A defense agreement signed soon after independence expired on 31 March 1979. On that day British military forces departed. Malta adopted a policy of neutrality in 1980 and was a member of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries until 1983.
Doomsday and After
The entire region around Malta escaped the immediate effects of Doomsday. After the discovery of what had happened, the Maltese government became very alarmed, and seized control of the ships in its harbors. The supplies on these vessels would allow the government to care for its people until they could fashion out the means to fish, and to increase the amount of food grown on the islands.
By Christmas of 1983, the inhabitants of Malta had jury-rigged themselves a nice little fishing fleet. This fleet allowed the inhabitants to survive the winter.
At the same time, the islands became the target of numerous waves of refugees, escaping the enveloping destruction in both Italy itself, and North Africa. By severely rationing the resources they did have, the government was able to maintain something that could be called close to normalcy in the islands.
These same fishermen, in the early months of 1984, stopped by the Pelagie Islands and the island of Pantelleria. These islands had suffered immensely through the winter, with many dead from starvation. In an act of humanity, the Maltese government sent what aid they could to these poor islands, as well as seeds for them to plant crops on suitable land. By year's end, the political leaders of these islands would petition the Maltese government for annexation. After an intense debate in the Maltese Parliament, the request would be accepted in the summer of 1985.
Much remained peaceful, to some degree, in Malta for the next four years. The fishing fleet and what little farmland there was provided enough food so that no one starved, though all were not eating as much as they would have liked to. Contact had been made with what remained of a government in Tunisia, though calling it a government would be a bit of a stretch, and rumors from Italian refugees of some sort of state building itself up in Sicily persisted.
In 1989, merchants arrived in Malta from Sicily. They began to sell their products on the islands, and a few began to become involved with the local economy. The Sicilian government even recognized Maltese control over the Italian islands that had made themselves part of Malta. However, disputes soon arose - the Sicilian merchants, accustomed to operating in a certain way, soon found out that this way would not fly, and those who were found out by the locals were removed from Malta. Coupled with ill-will over the annexation of the islands and the imperialistic expansion of Sicily into Italy itself, this soon led to an unofficial Sicilian governmental position against Malta.
They soon found their trade and waters under periodic and worsening harassment. By the later 1990s, the area had become one unsafe for international shipping as a result. ANZC and Celtic troops entered the area to try and secure it by preventing the actions of pirates and others from operating there, in which they were largely successful. Malta warmly the troops, and allowed them to be stationed on its territory. This intervention would eventually become the LoN-mandated Malta-Lampedusa-Corridor.
Invasions of Sardinia and Tunisia by Sicily in 2004 alarmed the Maltese government greatly. The Sicilian moves towards the Straits of Gibraltar made this even worse. Luckily, outside intervention in the Western Mediterranean forced them back by the end of 2005. While this ended the military threat to Malta - for the moment - the attitudes on the part of of the Sicilian Government have not changed at all, which is not helping the situation in the least.
Yet, it was in 2008 that the most worrisome event of all occurred. On November 8th, the Sicilian government issued a statement which claimed, amongst other territories, Malta, as part of its territory. At the same time, Sicilian naval vessels with moved around Lampedusa, in preparation at trying to enforce a blockade of the Mediterranean. The arrival of an ANZC naval task force by the and of the month, along with LoN intervention, brought down the tensions somewhat, though the Sicilian government did nothing about withdrawing their earlier statements.
And then in October of 2009, it all came to a head, with Sicilian attacks upon shipping - with the worst being on Greek shipping - starting up conflict yet again in the region, involving the entire ADC outside of those fighting with Canada in North America.
The net result of all of this has been that Malta, while in theory independent, has subsided much of its interests - and indeed, its control over its military - to the ADC and ANZC forces present in and around the islands, which includes the ANZC task-force and a Greco-Spanish army and air garrison from the ADC.
During the Second Sicily War, Malta was the center of a safe zone controlled by the ANZC fleet, which had declared "armed neutrality" in the conflict - essentially, they would fire on any Sicilian military forces that came too close to them, it light of the attacks that had started the war. Unfortunately for the ADC and IPA, it never occurred, though they did agree to act as the guarantors of the "peace" that followed. The ADC garrison, while tending to stay put, did conduct operations against the Sicilians occasionally as well.
Politics and Government
The next election for the Maltese Parliament will occur by August 10th, 2017. In the last elections on August 10th, 2012, the ruling Labor Party under Joseph Muscat lost its grip on power, with the opposition Nationalist Party under Lawrence Gonzi taking a slim majority, of three seats, thirty-six to thirty-three.
Parliament is headed by the Prime Minister, who is appointed by the President. They have to be able to command a majority of members of Parliament, however.
Presidents of Malta are chosen by a parliamentary vote just before the expiration of the term of their predecessor. They then serve that role, barring any resignations, for five years. President Sant's term in his position will end on April 4th, 2014, with Parliament choosing his replacement three days earlier.
There are two main political parties in the island state: the left-wing Labor Party and the right-wing Nationalist Party. There are also three smaller parties that contest seats, in both local elections and those for Parliament - the so-called environmentalist Green Alternative Party, the fascist and Sicilian-funded Cross Party, and the pro-English Imperial Party. None of these parties have seats on a national level, though they do on occasion hold representation on a municipal level.