In the 1962 elections, 76% of the electorate voted for the principal
parties which were demanding Independence. The Nationalists gained a
majority and therefore Dr George Borg Olivier became Prime Minister.
shortly aftereards amendiments to the Constitution were made, Borg
Olivier proceeded to London to ask for a financial agreement and
demand Independence with full membership within the Commonwealth. At
the time unemployment had risen to 6% and there were fears of
discharges from the Naval Arsenal.
On the 20th August 1962 Dr Borg Olivier presented his formal request
for Independence. It was soon made known that the Attorney General
Prof J J Cremona, was working of a draft constitution while it was
announced that a Malta Independence Conference was to be held at
Marlborough House, London. The Conference started on the 16th July,
1963. Delegates from all the political parties led by Dr George Borg
Olivier, Mr Dom. Mintoff, Mr Toni Pellegrini, Dr Herbert Ganado and
Miss Mabel Strickland attended. The Conference was chaired by Mr
Duncan Sandys. Discussions went on right through July. The Maltese
Government was asking for a monarchical state with a Governor
General representing the Queen. The Secretary of State proposed a
referendum about the constitution.
Initially it was announced that Malta would be granted Independence
by the 31st May, 1964, but controversial issues about the
constitution and a demand for elections prior to the granting of
independence, prolonged the discussions amd made this impossible. In
the meantime the draft was presented before parliament. Political
leaders again went to London late in 1963 to discuss the referendum.
Further discussions were held in February 1964 and in March 1964
Duncan Sandys and Borg Olivier issued a Joint Statement declaring
that Borg Oliver was going to present the draft constitution before
the National Assembly and after its approval, it would be presented
to the Maltese electorate for a referendum. These were approved and
a referendum was held in May when 129,649 or 82.6% of the electorate
voted. Out of these, 65,714 voted for independence.
Dr Borg Olivier proceeded to London to discuss the constitution, a
Defence Agreement and Economic Aid. It was proposed that British
forces would be allowed to stay for ten years while the British
Government was to provide Lstg50 millions to help in the
diversification of the economy. Malta's Draft Constitution was
approved in the House of Commons on 23rd July 1964 and the date for
Independence was set for the 21st September, 1964.
Malta became a democratic constitutional monarchy with Elizabeth II
declared as Queen of Malta. The Duke of Edinburgh came to Malta as
her official representative to participate in the various
festivities. On the night of the 20-21st September, the Maltese Flag
was raised at Independence Arena, Floriana, amidst the cheers of the
large crowd present. Malta had become an independent nation.