News World Political newcomer to become Malta's prime minister

Political newcomer to become Malta’s prime minister

Political newcomer Robert Abela (pictured right) was set to become Malta’s new prime minister having been elected leader of the ruling Labour Party following a vote on Saturday.

Joseph Muscat is stepping down as leader and prime minister amid claims that he protected associates who had links to people allegedly involved in the 2017 murder of anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The election result became known early on Sunday with Abela winning 58% of the votes of some 17,500 members of the party. He was up against Chris Fearne, 56, the deputy prime minister and minister of health, who had been the initial favourite to win.

Muscat announced his resignation on December 1, saying he would step down once a new Labour leader was elected.

Abela, 42, a lawyer specialising in industrial and labour law, was elected to parliament for the first time just over two years ago. Muscat appointed him a consultant, enabling him to attend Cabinet meetings.

“I am humbled” he told supporters. “I thank my friend Chris (Fearne) and look forward to working together for the good of the party and the country. There is only one winner today, the Labour Party.”

Abela has said he will place increased government focus on social issues and affordable housing. He also promised to give free medicines to all pensioners within five years. During the campaign, however, he avoided interviews with the independent press.

His father, George Abela, was deputy leader of the Labour Party until 1998 and had contested the party leadership election which saw Muscat become party leader in 2008. He later served as president of Malta.

Joseph Muscat in a tweet said he was proud to hand over to Abela. He said he would formally resign as prime minister on Monday.

He has said he will stay on in parliament and promote civil rights reform. He also intends working on a project to raise the level of Malta sports athletes.

(Reuters)

Top Stories

Coronavirus: 109 new cases, two deaths on Tuesday

The Health Ministry on Tuesday announced the death of two people in Cyprus due to Covid-19. This raises the Mediterranean island’s death toll from the...

Health Minister to announce process of covid measures relaxation on Wednesday

Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou on Wednesday will announce the way the strict coronavirus measures now in effect in Cyprus will be gradually relaxed after...

Scientists in Greece find 20 million year-old petrified tree

Greek scientists on the volcanic island of Lesbos say they have found a rare fossilized tree whose branches and roots are still intact after...

Turkey bans parties at ski resorts after Covid curfew backlash

Turkey has banned music and parties at ski resorts after footage of crowded party scenes provoked anger in a country which has endured two months...

EMGF Agreement set to be ratified on Thursday

The House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday decided to speed up the ratification of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Statute of the East Mediterranean...

Taste

Squash soup

Ingredients: 1 kg pumpkin, cut into small cubes, approximately 5 cups 2 medium (400g) sweet potatoes, cut into cubes, approximately 2 ½ cups 1 chopped leek, only...

Mezedes

No visit to Cyprus is complete without enjoying the traditional meal of many small dishes known as ‘meze’. This large feast, which has been a...

Prawns with fried cheese, barley shaped pasta

Put the barley shaped pasta into a small pan with salted water, bring to a boil and when tender, drain. Peal the prawns leaving...

Salmon and shrimp sheftalies

Mix all ingredients for tabbouli in a bowl and keep to one side so flavours can combine. Prepare the sheftalies: wash and soak the casing...