Malta is a republic, whose parliamentary system and public administration is closely modeled on the Westminster system. Malta had the second highest voter turnout in the world (and the highest for nations without mandatory voting), based on election turnout in national lower house elections from 1960 to 1995, The unicameral House of Representatives, is elected by direct universal suffrage through single transferable vote every five years, unless the House is dissolved earlier by the President on advice of the Prime Minister. The House of Representatives is made up of sixty-five Members of Parliament. However, where a party wins an absolute majority of votes, but does not have a majority of seats, that party is given additional seats to ensure a parliamentary majority.
The Constitution of Malta provides that the President appoint as Prime Minister the member of the House who is best able to command a majority in the House.
The President of the Republic is elected every five years by the House of Representatives. The role of the president as head of state is largely ceremonial. The main political parties are the Nationalist Party, which is a Christian democratic party, and the Labour Party, with Dr. Joseph Muscat as its leader, which is a social democratic party. The Nationalist Party is currently at the helm of the government, the Prime Minister being Dr. Lawrence Gonzi. The Labour Party is in opposition. There are a number of smaller political parties in Malta that presently have no parliamentary representation.