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Marie Louise Coleiro Preca accepts nomination for President
Family minister Marie Louise Coleiro Preca accepts Prime Minister's offer to become President.
3 March 2014, 12:00am
Social Policy Minister Marie Louise Coleiro Preca has accepted a nomination by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, to be the ninth President of the Republic of Malta. She will be the second female president and the sixth nominee emerging from the Labour Party since Malta became a Republic in 1974. The prime minister was seriously considering one other possible candidate apart from Coleiro Preca: Maria Camilleri, a former backbencher and a well known confidante of the former
Muscat had decided on Coleiro Preca back in December of last year.
Coleiro Preca was initially reluctant to resign from her post as Social Policy Minister. Many of her political canvassers have expressed dismay at the decision.
The decision is expected to be criticised by the Nationalist Party, who will take umbrage at the choice of a Labour personality. There may also references to Coleiro Preca’s political background, when she started off as secretary general of the Labour party in the turbulent 80s. However Coleiro holds the highest rating for all ministers in the Muscat Cabinet, and is even more popular than Muscat himself. She is also highly respected by Nationalist voters.
On the other hand, Labour Party insiders are expected to assess her choice as an attempt by Muscat to position the party more to the centre. Yet sources in Castille have told MaltaToday that Muscat’s decision was driven by his obsession choosing a woman for the post, and someone who has a sincere appreciation of social issues.
Maria Camilleri would have been a natural choice for Muscat, but she would come with political baggage, and would have made the prime minister vulnerable to an onslaught from the Opposition. Camilleri was also a candidate for the MEP elections on the Labour ticket in 2009. She is the head of the the Mariam al-Batool Islamic School in Paola.
Camilleri is the prime minister’s special envoy to Arab countries, however she turned down the €34,000 salary for envoys because she felt the money could be used to help people who really need it. Other special envoys who did not refuse the remuneration include popular notary Alex Scibberas Trigona and entrepreneur and hotelier Joseph Zammit Tabone, who surprisingly accepted the post of envoy for business promotion.