Louis Galea – ‘I wasn’t gunning for leader in 1996’
First reaction to Eddie Fenech Adami’s autobiography comes from former Nationalist minister now serving in European Court of Auditors
23 February 2014, 12:00am
In his autobiography 'Eddie: My Journey', former prime minister Eddie Fenech Adami recalls that after the election defeat, he initally considered tendering his resignation, but after being convinced by several friends and colleagues, he opted against it.
Nevertheless, Fenech Adami reveals that "some people, principally Louis Galea, were talking about a need for change," within the party's leadership.
Insisting that he did not want things to be done behind his back, Fenech Adami details how he had confronted Louis Galea and told him that he would even back a successor - at that time Fenech Adami considered Louis Galea as the sole contender for the hot seat - but people had insisted that it was not time for change.
"Guido de Marco was an unlikely candidate... Lawrence Gonzi had not yet emerged as a potential leader. That made Louis the only realistic alternative. However, the political scenario started to develop very quickly and almost immediately people were saying this was no time for the party to make a change... the matter therefore died a natural death."
However, in a reaction, Louis Galea denied that after the 1996 election, he had talked about a change in leadership and that he had affirmed this with Fenech Adami himself.
"During a meeting at Eddie's office at the PN headquartes, he asked me whether I was behind any move for a change in the party leadership," he explained.
"I categorically denied this and informed him that isolated voices had been mooting the issue. Some weeks before I had been approached by an individual who had raised the prospect of ringing changes within the party," Galea said.
The former Nationalist minister insisted that he neither encouraged nor entertained the idea of affecting changes within the party's leadership.
"Taking a critical stance of all that goes around me, including what Eddie said and did, is one thing, but saying that 'Louis Galea pushed for change' and that I was leading the talk for a change is not all true," he continued.
Galea said that Fenech Adami told him that his assessment was that the Sant government was already running into difficulties and that the PN had to be prepared to face a general election in the near future.
"I concurred with that assessment. Stoking 'the flames of change' seems to be an irresistible part of my make-up. Since my young days I was on the look-out for that which can be improved to the benefit of the people at large. It was this urge that rooted in me an unshakable vocation to dedicate myself to politics," Galea said.
Eddie Fenech Adami went on to win the 1998 and the 2003 general elections. On both occassions he appointed Galea education minister.
Daniel Mizzi reports from the law courts.
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