Cover photo: Jason Borg
Numerous internal reports are strongly indicating that George Vella, former foreign minister and deputy leader of the Labour party, is set to be appointed as Malta’s next president.
Both the Independent and MaltaToday have confirmed senior government sources saying Vella will be Malta’s 10th president, with reports saying he’s been the favourite for the role for a while now.
One source said: “He is the right person for the job, and a respected figure.”
The Presidency is said to have been given to Vella as a way for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to show his “gratitude”
According to the Malta Independent, Muscat wanted to thank Vella for the work he undertook during his tenure with the Labour party, as well as for actively supporting Muscat during his PL leadership race.
Vella is known for voicing his disagreement to some of the progressive changes in Malta that Labour has been instrumental in achieving.
In 2016, when Labour began discussing the introduction of gay marriage in Malta, he had been critical. “I am for civil unions but I do not agree with gay marriage. Marriage is between a man and a woman. I agree with civil unions because they [LGBTI persons] deserve the same rights as everybody else. The fact that their rights are recognised by law, in an institutionalised way, is important.”
He will be following President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the second woman to be appointed to the Maltese presidency, and will be the first President in 25 years that isn’t a lawyer.
Similar to Coleiro Preca, Vella is one of the few remaining active Labour politicians who was active in former Prime Minister Dom Mintoff’s administration.
Vella is popular in his hometown of Żejtun, where he is a family doctor. He was first elected to Malta’s parliament in 1976, and has served in the House of Representatives until 2017. He also served as deputy prime minister of Malta between 1996 and 1998, under former Prime Minister Alfred Sant.