Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, President of Malta (since Apr 4, 2014)
Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca was elected President of the Republic of Malta on the 4th April 2014. A Parliamentary resolution on 1st April 2014, approved her nomination as the ninth President of Malta.
At the age of 55, Coleiro Preca is the youngest serving President of Malta and only the second woman to hold the post of Head of State.
Her nomination marked another development in the constitutional history of Malta, as the President was elected with the unanimous approval of all Members of Parliament.
Coleiro Preca was born in Qormi on 7th December 1958. She was educated at St. George’s Primary School in Qormi, Maria Reġina Girls’ Grammar School at Blata l-Bajda and at the Polytechnic, Imsida. Later she graduated with a BA in Legal and Humanistic Studies (International Studies) and obtained a Diploma Notary Public from the University of Malta.
She has been active in national politics for the past forty years, since the age of sixteen.
Within the Partit Laburista she has served as a member of the National Executive, Assistant General Secretary and General Secretary.
As General Secretary (1982-91), she was the only woman to have served in such a senior post of a Maltese political party.
Coleiro Preca has also been a member of the National Bureau of Socialist Youths, President of the Women Section of the Party, founder member of the Ġuże Ellul Mercer Foundation and publisher of the Party’s weekly newspaper, Il-Ħelsien.
She served as MP in the Maltese Parliament from 1998 to 2014. In the 2008 General Election she was the first elected MP.
Coleiro Preca has served on the board of directors of Maltacom plc (now known as GO) and Libyan Arab Maltese Holding Company. She was a member of the National Commission for Fiscal Morality.
As an Opposition MP, Coleiro Preca served as Shadow Minister for Social Policy, Shadow Minister for Tourism, Shadow Minister for Health and also as member of the Parliamentary Permanent Committee for Social Affairs and another for the Family Affairs. She was also a member of the Delegation for the Council of Europe.
On 13th March 2013 Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca took the oath as the Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity.
Throughout her year in office she embarked on a series of reforms and strategies in the social sector.
The main reforms were related to social housing and an integrated ICT strategy aimed at bringing simplification to the social benefits process. Infact by the end of 2014, the retirement and widower’s pension, marriage grant and children’s allowance will be issued automatically.
As Minister she started working on a single-means testing mechanism and on a welfare reform. She also introduced an effective system against benefit fraud. Throughout her year in office she started developing a pensions’ strategy and addressed a number of anomalies faced by retired dockyard workers.
The number of social measures taken while in office includes a full widower’s pension and the rescheduling of the children’s allowance payments to help families in their budgeting.
As Minister, Coleiro Preca proposed in Parliament a number of legislations, including the Child Protection Act. She also set up Malta’s first sexual assault crisis centre known as SART.
In December 2013, with the European Union Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, Coleiro Preca launched the LEAP project. This project, co-financed by the European Social Fund, is part of the setting up of Family Resource Centres that will offer services in the heart of the community.
In January 2014, together with the Prime Minister of Malta, Coleiro Preca launched a Green Paper: A Framework for Poverty Reduction and for Social Inclusion. Furthermore, she introduced a number of measures to address poverty including a child supplement aimed at 22,000 children at risk of poverty.
Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca is married to Edgar Preca and has a daughter.
George Abela, President of Malta
Dr. George Abela was elected President of the Republic of Malta on the 4th April 2009 following a Parliamentary resolution which unanimously approved his nomination as the eighth President of Malta. His nomination marks a historical development in the constitutional history of our Island since, for the first time after thirty six years, the President was elected by the unanimous approval of both political parties represented in Parliament. It is also the first time that the Government of the day nominated a President with different political leanings.
Dr. Abela was born in Qormi on the 22nd April 1948 and is the son of a registered port worker. He was educated at the Lyceum and the University of Malta where he first obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English, Maltese and History and later on his Law Degree. He furthered his studies in European Law and obtained his Magister Iuris Degree in 1995. He also holds a Diploma to practice as a lawyer before the Ecclesiastical Tribunals in marriage annulment cases.
Dr. Abela worked in private practice for thirty-three years and has been a practicing lawyer specialising in Civil, Commercial and Industrial Law. He acted for twenty five years as the legal consultant of the General Workers’ Union and he represented the workers’ interests, affiliated in four separate trade unions, in the negotiations concerning the Air Malta rescue plan in 2002. He also represented port workers in the port reform of June 2007 which reform has been hailed by the European Commission as a model in social dialogue to be followed by other member states. He also served as legal advisor to the Medical Association of Malta and other house unions.
For many years, Dr. Abela has been deeply involved in the administration of sports in Malta, particularly in football. He first served as a treasurer in his village football club, Qormi F.C., and later on as its President. In 1982, after serving as Vice-President, he was elected to the post of President of the Malta Football Association, which position he held for ten years. During his presidency, the local football association witnessed major changes at its administrative and technical level. Large infrastructural investments were made in the resurfacing of the turf pitch at the National Stadium Ta’ Qali, which became wholly managed for the first time by the football association; new training grounds with turf pitches were built; floodlights were installed both at the National Stadium and in the adjoining training areas; a physiotherapy clinic and a fully equipped gymnasium were also opened. Foreign full time coaches, assisted by top Maltese coaches, were engaged to take charge of the National teams and courses in coaching and refereeing were held under the auspices of the European and international football bodies. The players of the National team were engaged for the first time on a full-time professional basis and the international matches of the Maltese team started to attract the wide support of the Maltese sporting public once again. Football nurseries all over the island wee inaugurated. Dr. Abela represented the local Association in many committees of UEFA. He also sat as an arbitrator in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
Furthermore, Dr. Abela was also involved in the Kerygma Movement where he acted for some years as Chairman for the Campaign – Solidarity Through Sports in Aid of Philantropic Institutions.
In 1992, after ten years in the top echelons of the Maltese football, Dr. Abela was elected as Deputy Leader of the Malta Labour Party in charge of Party Affairs. In 1996, the Malta labour party won the general election by its first ever greatest majority of votes. Subsequently, he was appointed as the legal consultant to the Prime Minister and invited to attend cabinet meetings.
Dr. George Abela served for a number of years as Director of the Central Bank of Malta and as Executive Director for the Bank of Valletta p.l.c. He was also a member of the Electoral Commission responsible for the running of the general elections in 1987. He actively participated in the Malta E.U. Steering and Action Committee (MEUSAC) in pre-accession negotiations for membership in the European Union, where he formed part of the core group focusing on the legal and social aspects of membership. After membership, he sat again on MEUSAC as the labour Party representative.
Dr. Abela is married to Margaret nee’ Cauchi and they have two children, Robert and Maria.
Edward Fenech-Adami, Former President of Malta
Edward Fenech-Adami was elected President of the Republic on 4th April 2004.
Edward Fenech-Adami was born in 1934, the son of a customs officer. He was educated at the Jesuits College and the University of Malta, where he first studied economics and the classics and later law. He was called to the bar in 1959.
Dr. Fenech-Adami joined the Christian Democratic Nationalist Party (PN) in the early 1960s, establishing a reputation as a reserved but determined and capable constituency official. He entered parliament in 1969 and in 1977, less than ten years later, after having served in a number of senior party posts, including president of the Administrative and General Councils, he was elected party leader, succeeding Dr. Giorgio Borg-Olivier.
Since 1969, he has been returned to Parliament at every General Election and as Leader of his Party won five popular elections, 1981, 1987, 1992, 1998 and 2003. In 1981, although the Nationalist Party obtained an absolute majority of votes, it did not succeed to win a majority of seats in Parliament, and therefore remained in Opposition. Constitutional changes were then made to guarantee that the party winning an absolute majority of votes would have a parliamentary majority as happened in 1987.
Between 1987 and 1996, President Edward Fenech- Adami, as Prime Minister, ushered in a major period of change for Malta. The country’s physical infrastructure was completely overhauled as were the legal and business structures. Trade was liberalized, whilst telecommunications, banking and financial services were deregulated and/or privatised. Malta also began a period of integration with the European Union when its application was presented on the 16th July 1990.
Between 1996 and 1998 Dr. Fenech-Adami served as Leader of the Opposition until his Party was returned to Government in September 1998. Dr Fenech-Adami served a further five years as Prime Minister and Leader of his Party. Malta’s EU application, which was put on hold by the previous Labour government, was reactivated. Negotiations on EU membership were concluded by December 2002. In April 2003 Dr Edward Fenech-Adami was again confirmed as Prime Minister, following another electoral victory.
A few days later, on the 16th April, 2003, Dr Fenech-Adami signed Malta’s Accession Treaty with the European Union, together with nine other Heads of Government of countries set to become EU members on the 1st of May 2004.
As Prime Minister Dr Edward Fenech-Adami, attended various EU Summits and also represented Malta at various Commonwealth Meetings. As Leader of his Party he attended various summits of the European Peoples Party. In December 2003, Dr Fenech-Adami received the European of the Year 2003 Award from the influential Brussels-based newspaper European Voice in recognition of his unfaltering efforts to bring Malta into the European Union.
On the 7th February 2004, upon reaching his 70th birthday, Dr Fenech-Adami tendered his resignation as Nationalist Party Leader. On the 23rd March 2004, Dr Edward Fenech-Adami resigned his premiership as well as his parliamentary seat.
Dr Edward Fenech-Adami is married to Mary nee Sciberras and they have five children, John, Beppe, Michael, Maria and Luigi.