Gonzi says reshuffle 'in national interest', Franco Debono withdraws support

Franco Debono: 'I want to live in a democracy, not an oligarchy' says MP on reshuffle of 'ruling clique'.

Nationalist backbencher Franco Debono (right) with Chris Said.
Nationalist backbencher Franco Debono (right) with Chris Said.

Additional reporting by Matthew Vella.

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi said he will not to answer to Franco Debono's "individual opinion" on his Cabinet reshuffle, insisting his decision to promote three parliamentary secretaries to ministers and cut minsters' parliamentary honoraria was done "in the national interest."

"I am answering to the country's priorities," Gonzi said.

New minister Chris Said said his intention was to collaborate with Franco Debono on criminal justice reform (listen to recording).

Nationalist backbencher Franco Debono said the new cabinet reshuffle that has promoted Lawrence Gonzi's parliamentary secretaries to ministers was a reshuffle "within the ruling clique" of Gonzi's government.

Although saying he was pleased with the split of the ministry for justice and home affairs, which has come largely upon his demands, Debono was disdainful of the reshuffle itself.

"If this is the ruling clique, I won't support government. I want to live in a democracy, not an oligarchy," he told MaltaToday.

Asked what he meant by not supporting the government, Debono said: "They can deal with the March elections themselves," he said referring to the PN's campaign for the forthcoming local council elections.

Asked whether he had expected to be made justice minister, having campaigned vigorously for policy changes in the criminal justice field, Debono said he never had expectations.

"I never expected anything. That is the prime minister's decision."

But Debono noted that he had been responsible for the eventual policy change. "The people have me to thank, seeing how I had to go through all that I passed from," the backbencher said of the vicissitudes leading up to the cabinet reshuffle.

Debono said he was not aware of the cabinet reshuffle and was not consulted on any prospective policy changes concerning the justice and home affairs portfolio.

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi will split the justice and home affairs portfolio held by Carm Mifsud Bonnici since 2008. Mifsud Bonnici will be home affairs minister, and take local councils and become Leader of the House - instead of deputy prime minister Tonio Borg.

Chris Said has been made minister of justice and social policy, the latter responsibility taken from Minister Dolores Cristina's family affairs portfolio. Cristina will now be minister for education.

Mario De Marco is promoted from parliamentary secretary to minister for tourism, environment and culture, as is Jason Azzopardi from parliamentary secretary to minister for small busness, lands, consumers and competition.

The new line-up is not expected to inject fresh talent into the frontbench, but serve as a palliative for the onerous demands made by backbencher Franco Debono - the MP said he would withdraw his support for government in parliament unless Gonzi keeps his promise to split the home affairs and justice ministry, a matter of principle for the MP.

Debono insisted that the split was necessary given the conflicting roles of the executive and judiciary within the ministry. He has also called for a series of reforms within the justice system and the police force, and has tabled a private members motion for parliament to legislate on a list of reforms.

Mifsud Bonnici will retain the home affairs ministry, and will probably inherit Chris Said's responsibility for public dialogue and local councils.

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Time has shown that Dr.Sant chose the National interest whereas Dr.Gonzi looks at personal &party interests. We have a pathetic individual running this country who does not understand that Dr. Franco Debono is a member of parliament and answers to parliament and not the P.N.. There is only one way forward and that is an early election. Phoenix
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Prosit Dr.Gonzi......llum urejt bis-serjeta kemm ghandek qalbek sensitiva ghal-poplu Malti billi nehhejt iz-zieda ta' 500 euro. Trid iddahaq hux?. Qiesu mhux kulhadd jaf li l-elezzjoni qeghda toqrob u l-gvern tieghek u mdendel b'hajta. Darba dhaqt bil-haddiema tat-tarzna, Go, xarabanks, airmalta, kaccaturi u hafna ohrajn. Issa qieghed joqrob iz-zmien li nidhqu bik ahna. Ghalxejn qieghed taghmel dawn il-kummidji kollha. Dr. Franco Debono hu l-lehen ta' hafna nazzjonalisti li huma mxebejn bl-arroganza tal-Prim Ministru Gonzi.
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@ l fenech Iddahhkux nies iktar bikom man!! Dejjem l- istess kliem tirrepetu qieskhom qatta pappagalli, lill Anglu Farrugia u tbezzghu lin-nies li il-partit ser jerga iregga iz-zmien lura lejn l- 80s!! Qisu Anglu Farrugia biss ser johrog ghall elezzjoni mal PL din id-darba!! Alla hares tkun taf min ser johrog ghall din l- elezzjoni mal PL ghax ihossok hazin siehbi, professjonisti totalment godda fix xhena politika u bosta kienu ixeqilbu lejn il- pn, illum jisthu li xi darba kienu nexinelists!!! Il-ballot paper f`din l- elezzjoni tista tuzahha bhala luzar sur fenech daqs kemm ser tkun twila bil kandidati godda tal PL, ara intom, ser tibqghu bl- istess nies skaduti ghax ma tistghu issibu lill hadd gdid u ta stoffa biex johrog maghkom, is-serji ma iridx ikollhom x'jaqsmu ma partit faxxist, korrott u ipokrita!!
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I taught i was going to see fresh talent into the frontbench.
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If Dr Debono does not want to be known as a 'quaquaraqua'he should take action and do what he believes is the right for him and for the country. It is obvious that the clique that gave birth to GonziPN wants to spite and insult him. 'Remember Dr Debono, only a handful of dynastic families belong in the PN' the rest are simply foot soldiers!
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the issue is that we take great care when casting our vote in chosing the party.... and we hardly know the candidates. in this manner we end up with people like Dr. Debono in parliament!!! The election system surely needs adjustment, cause we are presented with presidential campaigns (US style) but vote for the individual candidates!... this is totally misleading! and now we have to stick up with Dr. Debono!!
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Dr. Debono, pls don't cry!... PM has called your bluff!... it's no children's game... Well Done Dr. Gonzi!... keep it going!!!
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Dr. Debono, pls don't cry!... PM has called your bluff!... it's no children's game... Well Done Dr. Gonzi!... keep it going!!!
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So, Labour will soon be in government by default. Good luck Malta, you're gonna need it. With the likes of former police inspector Anglu Farrugia waiting in the wings, you're certainly gonna need it. It's gonna be back to the eighties in no time at all. Thank you Franco Debono, you will be remembered forever for this. Who voted for this crap anyway?
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Reshuffle my foot, it is more of musical chairs exercise.gonz not all the people are morons and stupid like you love to believe.If nothing this supposedly reshuffle only shows that gonzi is not impressed by Carmelo as a Justice Minister otherwise he would have given Chris Said the Internal portafolio. I think gonzi is still rattled by the three shots heard near Girgenti because he cannot think straight.
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Dr. Debono, pls don't cry!... PM has called your bluff!... it's no children's game... Well Done Dr. Gonzi!... keep it going!!!
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DOES THIS MEAN THAT THESE NEW MINISTERS ARE GOING TO MAKE MIRACLES...THAT`S HARD TO BELIEVE,THEY ARE ONLY GOING TO BE A BIGGER BURDEN WITH THEIR NEW SALARIES,THIS IS A JOKE RIGHT GONZIPN.
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DOES GONZ THINK THAT THE MALTESE AND GOZITANS ARE NOTHING ELSE BUT IMBECILES OR NINCOMPOOPS?
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#Tubernum...ser iddum tghid banalati? Mintoff kellu fuq it-tmenin meta nizzel il-Labour. Ma kellux xi xewqa li jkun ministru taht Sant. Ma kienx jimpurtah minn hadd u zgur li ma kienx ha joqghod ghal xi dixxiplina tal-partit. Debono ghadu bil-kemm libes qalziet, u wera l-mmaturita tieghu, haseb li bir-rikatti ser jirnexxilu jgib xi haga. Jekk kien qed jahseb li ser iddahluh fil-kabinett kien qed juru kemm ghadu jahsibha ta' tifel.
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Bidla totali ghandu bzonn il-pajjiz u mhux reshuffle. Gvern gdid demm gdid.
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@Briffy issa qed tghidu dan ghax ma ghatx hekk meta il Partit laburista kellu l-istess problema. Int tal maduma faxxista kulur iswed mad-dawra tal bandiera kif titkellem, hadd ma jista jiftah halqu, ghax tipprovaw tkissruh, ara Sant ma kellux kilba ghal poter bhalkom, tikluha u tpappuha min fuq dahar il poplu, tridu tibqaw inkazzata u tkomplu tisborzjaw il kaxxa ta Malta.
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FALLIMENT TOTALI...........GHAJJAT ELEZJONI KEMM JISTA IKUN MALAJR.......GHAL GID TAL PAJJIZ. Dr. Franco Debono......Pass wiehed jonqos li tghamel wara li sfidak il P.M. Dak li ic Japunizi jghejdulu "KAMIKAZE" Wahda bir ras ghal go fihom. Iva, Gonzi qeghed ihallas lil " Die Hards " tieghu, qabel ixolji........Lilek ser ipattijilek ghal l-elezzjoni, ibqa fuq kliemi, nafhom bizzejjed.
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It took you some time to realize, dear Franco, that we live in an oligarchy. But it's even much worse than that, most PN die-hards are supremacists at heart, thinking they're God's gift to the Maltese nation and they can dominate and control us lesser mortals in the PL. You should feel truly ashamed to form part of such a breed.
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Wasn't it obvious that Dr Debono would not become a member of the Cabinet? How can anybody in his right senses imagine that an MP who was elected for the first time and who behaves like Debono be made a parliamentary secretary or a minister? Even though he was made a parliamentary assistant, Debono never seemed to be able to appreciate that he was part of the establishment; he acted on his own, went public on several occasions, resorted to threats and ultimatums and caused a lot of unnecessary problems for the PM. Loyalty to the party on whose ticket he was elected did not seem to form part of his vocabulary, he never seemed to appreciate that there is a such a thing as party discipline; his behaviour in the House was more like that of an independent member. How can an MP who shows utter disregard for party discipline ever dream of ever making it to Cabinet?
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Fabian Psaila
Not in the national Interest..... but in the NATIONALIST PARTY's interest visavie the next General Elections looming in the very near future!
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Are we supposed to be impressed? Same old faces- same tired ideology. I sense a state of panic setting in. Gonz knows his ship of rats is sinking fast.
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Darba kien hemm wiehed li qal li ghandu jdejh sodi ghax ghandu il-kabinett kollu warajh . Issa tfacca wiehed li ma ghandu lill-Hadd warajh u milli jidher ghandu jdejh sodi aktar ghax kellu il-hila li wahdu ipoggi lill-Gonzi f'rokna . Il-vapur qed jitbandal l'hemm u l'hawn u dalwaqt jghereq .
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Lil dawk li hargu jifirhu bid-decizjoni ta' Dr Gonzi li jaqsam il-Ministeru tal-Gustizzja u l-Intern: Frahtu kmieni... ferha bla temma???
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Franco, now you are taking too far. Showing that you really wanted the Ministry of Justice. I think the Prime Minister made only one mistake, not of reshuffling the Cabinet and promoted those who really worked but of not calling your bluff, staying and will challenge that you will not vote at next budget. Election and you can go to Italy where there is more democracy that ours! That would be a nice scenario
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Franco, prosit għax għandek par ħaswejn mhux bħal Gonzi. ** jgalea int u Gonzi tfakkruni f'dak li kienu jgħidu t-Taljani fil-battalja ta' Caporetto. "Coraggio, fuggiamo". ** U tfakkarni wkoll f'dak is-Suldat li lil Garibaldi (jew lil Napuljun għax bħalissa ma nistax niftakar) kien qallu li huwa kien qalbienu u wrieh il-ferita li kellu f'wiċċu, imma dan wieġbu "Dak li jiġrilu min iħares lura waqt li jkun qed jaħrab". ** Narawk wara l-elezzjoni wara li tkun tfarfart mit-trab tat-tkaxkira.
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PROSIT POODLE Lawrence Gonzi , HALLAS IT TAXXI POPLU MALTI, HALLI JITHALSU IL MINISTRI IL GODDA.TILAQ HA TIBQA FRANCO, GHALXEJN TIPROVA.
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@jgalea jekk qieghed tifrah b'din ir-rebha li skont int ghamel Dr Gonzi wara l-ellezjoni li jmiss tghidx kemm ser tifrah bhal ma fraht wara ir-referendum tad-divorzju
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Kollox qieghed jindika li ghaddiet ta' Franco Debono. Illejla l-Prim Ministru Gonzi se jhabbar reshuffle fil-cabinet tal-Ministri tieghu sabiex il-Ministeru tal-Gustizzja u l-Intern jinqasam fi tnejn. GonziPn kellu jcedi ghal pressjoni ta' Franco Debono biex iwassal il-Gvern sal-ahhar tat-terminu tieghu. Tassew PAR IDEJN SODI!! Gonzi lest li jaghmel kollox anka jinzel gharkubtejh biex huwa u l-ministri jibqghu jiehu z-zieda ta Eur500 fil-gimgha min fuq dahar il-poplu Malti. Il-pajjizjigifieri ahna tax payers ser nbatu l-iktar b'din ir-Reshuffle ghax ser nibdew nhallsu 3 honorarias ohra jigifieri Eur6000 iktar fix-xahar(zieda) Grazzi Gonzi)
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhE-F8Zw-3o
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Luke Camilleri
Will the Minister's Honoraria be also split? That would only be fair! Or will the country lose out with more honorarias being forked out for more Ministers out of the Gonzipn pool of limited talent???????
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Paul Sammut
"Prime Minister ...will reshuffle inject new life into government?" Oh yes! It will be like kicking a dead horse?
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Words fail me, but jelly hands come to mind. Good one Franco Debono the puppet master.
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Another VICTORY to our beloved PN goverment :) Bhal ma kienet tghid id diska mintoffjana, illum il poplu Malti jghid alenija: "Ma tamlu xejn, ma Laurence Gonzi, ma tamlu xejn..." Fejn huma il lejboristi? Gejja is sena 2013... Is sena decisiva ta tkaxkira ohra :)
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I think Franco Debono forgot what "hemel" (to put it in Ghaxqi) laws did Mifsud Bonnici was instrumental to pass and how he reformed the courts and backlogs were smaller. Did Franco Debono forgot that Guido de Marco was also Minister OF JUSTICE AND INTERIOR. Is this a personal crusade against an honest and hard working Minister. What's next Franco before the elections? Once some placards in 1971 said "See you at the polls, BO". Shall we use it and say "See you at the polls, Franco". The South has been hit by the South. What's more Franco?
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GonziPn kellu jcedi ghal pressjoni ta' Franco Debono biex iwassal il-Gvern sal-ahhar tat-terminu tieghu. Tassew PAR IDEJN SODI!!
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Poor Dr Mifsud Bonnici, The Pm should have decided this when taking office not now on his way out. This is a humiliating for Dr Mifsud Bonnici, a hard working HONEST minister. This is another blow to the south especially second district. So It is clear now that the New Prim minister is Franco Debono. Which minister is next ? so far Gatt and Mifsud Bonnici. Hands made of jelly.
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Ian George Walker
Three cheers for the Par Idejn Sodi.

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