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‘Millionaire Bodybuilder Becomes Prime Minister’ And Other Ways The International Press Reacted To Robert Abela

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Yesterday, Malta officially swore in Robert Abela as its 8th Prime Minister since Independence.

As crowds celebrated in Valletta and people were glued to the news to see Abela’s elevation to leader of the nation, the international media were watching the latest developments on the island as well – and they had some particular takes on it all.

1. The BBC focused on the race between Abela and his rival Chris Fearne as well as a brief timeline of what led to Abela’s predecessor, Joseph Muscat’s, resignation.

2. And Euronews interviewed Daphne Caruana Galizia’s sister Corinne Vella

Vella said that despite Abela being described as an outsider, he’s actually been in “every cabinet meeting since Muscat’s government was re-elected in 2017”.

3. Similarly, the Guardian reported the news in light of the Caruana Galizia murder, even placing it under the Daphne Caruana Galizia category.

They spoke to the late journalist’s son Andrew Caruana Galizia, who said Abela has days to prove himself.

“We will be watching to see what he does and we will probably know within the first few days whether he will really break with Joseph Muscat’s legacy or seeks to protect it,” Caruana Galizia said. “We honestly don’t know what to expect from the new leader.”

4. The EU Observer didn’t hold back, calling Abela a “millionaire bodybuilder” in their headline.

“Robert Abela, a 42-year old millionaire lawyer and former bodybuilder, is to become Malta’s new prime minister, replacing Joseph Muscat, after a vote by the ruling Labour Party amid a political crisis over the 2017 murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia,” the EU Observer said.

“Abela was Muscat’s legal advisor and confidante, prompting reformists to question his trustworthiness in completing the murder investigation. He beat another candidate, Chris Fearne, who had promised a clean-up,” they continued.

5. Yahoo carried a Reuters report where they spoke to German MEP Sven Giegold.

“‘Abela deserves a chance, but scepticism is appropriate,’ Giegold said in an emailed statement, adding that Abela had been a one-time legal adviser to Muscat,” they reported.

6. CNN reported the election in tandem with another election in Taiwan.

“Muscat’s time in office was overshadowed by an investigation in the death of a journalist in 2017. The country has since had a crisis of press freedom, and journalist organizations say Abela has his work cut out for him to set the situation right,” CNN reported.

7. The Wall Street Journal did not ignore Abela’s ties with former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

The WSJ described Abela with the following:

“A lawmaker with close ties to Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is replacing the embattled politician, who stepped down Sunday amid a probe into whether the government mishandled the investigation into the 2017 murder of a journalist.”

What do you think of the international coverage?

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