Old guard moves aside but sev­eral MPs elected in 1987 still in House

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - Neil Cami­leri

Leo Brin­cat’s de­par­ture from the Cab­i­net of Min­is­ters to take up a post in the Euro­pean Court of Au­di­tors is an­other of Joseph Mus­cat’s moves to re­ju­ve­nate his team, but the Labour Party still has more MPs who were elected in 1987 than the PN.

When Joseph Mus­cat was elected to gov­ern­ment in 2013, one harsh crit­i­cism that was lev­elled at him was his in­clu­sion of min­is­ters who had served un­der his pre­de­ces­sors Dom Mintoff, Kar­menu Mif­sud Bon­nici and Al­fred Sant.

But most of these MPs have ei­ther moved on to new roles or will not seek re­elec­tion.

The first to ‘fall’ was Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, who was ap­pointed Fam­ily Min­is­ter by Joseph Mus­cat in 2013 but later gave up her par­lia­men­tary seat to be­come Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic. Mrs Coleiro Preca’s seat was filled by for­mer Jus­tice Min­is­ter Charles Man­gion. Although she was elected to Par­lia­ment for the first time in 1998, Mrs Coleiro Preca had served as MLP Sec­re­tary Gen­eral from 1982 to 1991.

Also in 2014, Tourism Min­is­ter Kar­menu Vella be­came EU En­vi­ron­ment Com­mis­sioner. Mr Vella was first elected in the 1976 gen­eral elec­tion and be­came min­is­ter for the first time in 1981, when he was given the Pub­lic Works port­fo­lio. His for­mer min­istry was taken over by Ed­ward Zam­mit Lewis. The va­cant par­lia­men­tary seat was taken by Joseph Far­ru­gia ‘il-Farell.’

An­other Mintoff-era MP, Leo Brin­cat, re­cently gave up his seat in Par­lia­ment to serve on the Euro­pean Court of Au­di­tors. Mr Brin­cat was elected to par­lia­ment for the first time in 1982, be­com­ing Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary in

1986. He had also served as min­is­ter un­der the Al­fred Sant gov­ern­ment in 1996. His par­lia­men­tary seat was taken over by young MP Clifton Grima, while the en­vi­ron­ment port­fo­lio was passed onto Jose Her­rera.

There are only two Labour MP’s left from the early 1980s – Birkirkara fire­brand MP Joe De­bono Grech and For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Ge­orge Vella – both of whom have de­clared that they will not be con­test­ing the next elec­tion.

Dur­ing the course of this leg­is­la­ture Labour also lost Mar­lene Far­ru­gia, who is now an in­de­pen­dent MP and who went on to found the Demo­cratic Party. Her part­ner, gov­ern­ment whip God­frey Far­ru­gia, con­firmed with this pa­per that he will be con­test­ing on the PL ticket.

It is un­clear whether Deputy PM Louis Grech will be con­test­ing the next elec­tion but sources say this is un­likely.

Apart from Vella and De­bono Grech, the long­est serv­ing Labour MPs are Joe Mizzi, Charles Buha­giar and An­ton Re­falo, who were first elected in the 1987 elec­tion. Evarist Bar­tolo and Michael Far­ru­gia were elected for the first time in 1992. All five served in cab­i­net roles be­fore the cur­rent leg­is­la­ture and all are ex­pected to be on the PL ticket in 2018.

The rest of Labour MPs are politi­cians whose names have fea­tured in Par­lia­ment from the 1990s on­wards or MPs who are rel­a­tively new to pol­i­tics, like Manuel Mal­lia, Deb­o­rah Schem­bri, Ed­ward Sci­cluna and Kon­rad Mizzi.

The PN line up has also changed dur­ing the past three years, but less sig­nif­i­cantly. For­mer PM Lawrence Gonzi re­tired from pol­i­tics shortly af­ter the last elec­tion, his seat be­ing taken by An­toine Borg.

Car­di­ol­o­gist Al­bert Fenech re­signed in April of this year. His seat was filled by Karl Gouder. For­mer Gozo Min­is­ter Gio­vanna De­bono re­signed from the PN amid the works-for-votes scan­dal and stayed on as an in­de­pen­dent MP. She will not be con­test­ing the next elec­tion.

For­mer Health Min­is­ter Joe Cassar re­signed af­ter he was em­broiled in the Gaf­farena scan­dal and was re­placed in Par­lia­ment by for­mer MP and Par­lia­men­tary Sec­re­tary Tony Abela. MP Charlo Bon­nici has an­nounced he will not be con­test­ing the next elec­tion.

Apart from these changes, the PN line-up re­mains pretty much the same. More sig­nif­i­cantly, the PN will be field­ing no less than 11 for­mer min­is­ters, par­lia­men­tary sec­re­taries and par­lia­men­tary as­sis­tants in the next elec­tion: Mario de Marco, Ja­son Az­zopardi, Beppe Fenech Adami, To­nio Fenech, Mario Galea, Censu Galea, Carmelo Mif­sud Bon­nici, Clyde Puli, Ge­orge Pul­li­cino, Chris Said and Fran­cis Zam­mit Dimech.

Two of these MPs, Censu Galea and Fran­cis Zam­mit Dimech, have served in a num­ber of cab­i­nets ever since they were first elected in 1987.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.