Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has vowed to introduce marriage equality.
The leader of the Maltese Labour Party made the pledge after winning a second term in office on Saturday. He called a snap election following allegations of corruption against his wife and political allies.
All major parties had agreed on legalising same-sex marriage if they won the election.
During his victory speech, Muscat said: “The people have confirmed their trust in this movement, despite it being the target of one of the most negative campaigns in our country’s history.
“Those who thought that the Maltese people would choose negativity don’t truly know the Maltese people, because the Maltese people choose positivity, optimism, energy, goodwill, unity and equality.”
Muscat has pledged to start his five-year term by reforming marriage laws to include same-sex couples, with progress on the matter expected before parliament dissolves for the summer.
Same-sex civil unions have been available in Malta since 2014, and the country became the first in Europe to outlaw the harmful practice of gay ‘conversion therapy’ under Muscat’s leadership last year.
Cutting taxes, raising pensions, and tackling traffic congestion on the island are also part of Muscat’s plan.
Malta, which has a population of 400,000 and is the EU’s smallest state, has consistently been ranked as one of the best places to live for LGBT+ people due to their equality laws and tolerant society.
Despite their tolerance towards the LGBT+ community, Malta remains socially conservative – divorces weren’t permitted in the country until 2013, and abortion remains illegal.