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Malta Government confirms that process for abrogative referendum on the abolition of spring hunting is legal.

It has been confirmed that the process followed by the Coalition for the Abolition of Spring Hunting for an abrogative referendum was legal. The legality of the process was confirmed by the government in its submission to the Constitutional Court in response to hunters’ objections to a spring hunting referendum.

In its reply the government dismissed the hunters’ objections filed in court by legal advisor Kathleen Grima.

The 22-page submission which Dr Grima made last month on behalf of the hunters’ federation (FKNK) requested that the court reject the petition and stop the abrogative referendum.

One of the objections questioned why the Electoral Commission did not engage a calligraphy expert to determine whether signatures were authentic. This opened up the probability that the number of collected signatures did not conform to the legal requirement, the federation added, urging the court not to ignore this doubt.

But in its reply filed in court, based on the advice of the Office of the Attorney General, the government said the process of verifying the signatures had been done correctly, confirming its legality. 

The coalition, made up of a significant number of animal welfare groups, also submitted replies to the hunters’ objections to the referendum in the Constitutional Court last week, saying they were “illogical and legally baseless”. It said the hunting lobby’s interpretation of the Birds Directive was “diametrically opposed to what the interpretation should be”.