Former Labour critic set to become Malta's ambassador in the US

Nationalist Party defector and current Labour advisor set to become Malta’s ambassador in Washington.

Marisa Micallef
Marisa Micallef

Labour Party advisor Marisa Micallef (formerly known as Micallef Leyson) is set to be appointed as Malta ambassador in Washington DC.

The Nationalist Party defector will replace Joseph Cole, who was only appointed as ambassador in the US in June 2012.

A career diplomat, Cole, joined the diplomatic corps in 1977, and served as consul general for Malta in Sydney, Australia, from 1983 to 1985, deputy head of the Malta High Commission in London, UK between 1998 and 2001 and in 2002, he served as Malta's representative at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Later he served on the as chairman of the Malta Sanctions Monitoring Board, which is responsible for Malta's participation in international economic sanctions against countries like Iran and Libya. In March 2013 Ambassador Cole was appointed Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In what seems like another political appointment which could cause a stir, Micallef is set to take up the role, representing Malta in the capital of the world's super power, in the coming weeks.

Micallef previously a heavyweight within Nationalist ranks, sensationally switched to Labour leader Joseph Muscat's ranks in 2009.

Just over a year after winning the Labour Party's leadership, Muscat had wooed Micallef, to become his advisor. Her main role was to help Muscat convert voters who never considered voting Labour.

The former Housing Authority chairperson was pivotal in Labour's efforts to attract members of the business community and was behind the countless meetings Muscat had with influential businessmen.

For long years, Micallef was more than just a prototype Nationalist supporter. The former PN candidate and politically-appointed Housing Authority chairman was very close to former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi - whom she actively backed in his 2003 leadership bid against John Dalli - and had previously contested national elections with the Nationalist Party on the 9th district.

As a columnist for the Malta Independent, Marisa Micallef relentlessly pounded both Labour and Alternattiva Demokratika for years (though she consistently reminded her readers that she had worked in a Labour council in Britain), and was described as a "cheerleader" for Lawrence Gonzi.

A former chairperson of the Housing Authority since 1998, she has occupied positions on the mental health board, the Building Industry Consultative Council, and of course, the Nationalist think-tank AZAD.

During her militancy within the PN,  she was a constant target of the Labour media circus over the 'Lay-Lay scandal' that dogged Alfred Sant's government, over the purchase of a Lm1.5 million housing project that did not even carry the necessary permits.

Her political career was brief, polling 587 first-preference votes in 1998 for the PN. Having lived in the UK for 15 years before that, she had admitted to always feeling like a fish out of water in Malta.

She was famed for her distrust of Alfred Sant and for her denigrating of Alternattiva Demokratika, which she warned would endanger the chances of securing a Nationalist victory in 2003 and consequently, EU accession.

Her switch to Labour was spurred by an acrimonious falling out with former PN Education Minister Dolores Cristina, and did noting to hide her disappointment with the Gonzi administration in her contributions to the press.
Her move to Labour in 2009, reportedly cost the party a figure rumoured to be around €40,000, however in one stroke, Muscat neutralised a vocal critic of Labour in the English language press and exposed cracks in the Nationalist Party.

The English-speaking Micallef also helped Muscat dispel the notion that the PN was the natural home for the middle class and helped the Labour leader make significant inroads in what was previously a hostile audience.

Micallef's switch to Labour had shocked the PN and although her crossing was met with typical silence by the PN, rumours were rife about the new Labour leader's darling lifestyle.

A separated woman with one child, Micallef is an outspoken liberal who criticised Gonzi over his proposal to entrench the abortion law into the Constitution, among other conservative initiatives. She was also a vociferous supporter of divorce during her time within the PN ranks.

More in National
avatar
Those who are claiming that Mr Joe Cole is one of those victims of the LP , maybe do they know what happened to him in 1987? He was one of those 43 or so who were regarded as political appointees in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and so given a transfer by a senior civil servant!
avatar
What a waste......she would have done much better running....other kind of institutions.....sic! JM is really adventurous when it comes to such positions. But suldati tal azzar syndrome has gone to the gutter. Issa in a few years JM will once again want your vote....and please do make sure that you run to the polls like the wind.....I for one voted PL always.....hear that always.....next time around its PN even if they send me to the gutter! I remember this lady......this sick lady ....tar raba sular had for many years written hate articles against PL. and this Is the reward......no way......not next time around!
avatar
Give the nice lady a chance. Being the Maltese Ambassador in the USA is no easy task for anybody. Maybe Marisa Micallef will do a good job and only time will tell. @ Mr Galdes I think very few people are interested in your childhood days, irrelevant. Look if Franco Debono can flip flop then so can Ms Micallef et al. They both gained in one way or the other. As they say: Go where the heart takes you.....
avatar
Another reward for another opportunist. This is Muscat's 'Taghna Lkoll'. The only people connected to the PN in this 'new way of government' are those who can cause controversy and hence division within the PN. The overriding philosophy seems to be "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" and "The friend of my enemy is my enemy". Nice 'change' we got!!! Prosit Labour Party!!!
avatar
What is wrong with someone who disagrees with the bad running of a party and country, to switch over to a much more renovated and credible party and help it in running the country better? Does she merit the post or not? This is the whole point. We voted for change, change in everything including mentality, ethics, morality, transparency, sacrifice, etc. And that is what we are getting. And that is honest, just and fair. Good luck Ms Micallef! God help you in your difficult and intricate job.
avatar
Scratch my back ........
avatar
It seems that the new administration is more concerned with new converts than the suldati tal-azzar it so proudly made use of before the elections. It seems that the Suldati tal-azzar can afford to wait another 25 years to see justice.
avatar
Another turncoat is paid in kind.
avatar
I remember Marisa from my undergrad days back in the mid 70s. I think we shared some subject in common. She was English for sure and just as sure not economics. So could have been either philosophy or History of Mediterranean Culture because we had classes in common. Never would have thought politics would have mattered to her an iota. Rather surprising, at least to me. She struck me as hermetic. I was dumbstruck by her beauty so in about three years we only communicated once and very fleetingly at that. I happened to be surfing and saw this pic of her and recognised her instantly from almost 40 years back. I always thought she had that kind of uncommon aura about her though this be but an impression because I have never 'seen' her up close let alone worked with her. Somehow it strikes me that a position of that kind would be the thing for her and I surely thank God it could never have been me because that country gives me the shivers and as Chaplin on lauding it, had it explained to him by one of the foremost Hollywood stars even back then: "Charlie, it's a great place on the surface....." I augur her, all those who preceded her and all those who will follow her in having always made it impossible for me to be considered for anything even remotely connected to that country. I did work for a stint with two USA companies in the oilfield business and the experience did not disabuse me of my ideas. God bless her.
avatar
Next in line Bondi
avatar
What you failed to state is that Mr Joe Cole was recalled from Washington to take up a more prestigious post as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is a significant omission which i hope was not intentional.
avatar
Going where the wind blows....
avatar
Marisa just put your bullit proof jacket on as you will be the next PN target.
avatar
Another obligation directed to a Nationalist dissident who put Muscat to power and criticized severely the labour party and labour supporters. The list can read:Bondi, Bezzina, Dalli, Debono, Rizzo, Micallef,Friggieri, Bencini, Testa,Engerer, Willie the singer, Marshall, Grima.Compared to the 200 tal-qalba labour supporters engaged with the ministries the number is still insignificant.Muscat divided his own party in three: Tal-qalba labour supporter oligarchy,PN dissidents oligarchy; and lastly those loyal labour supporters that remained outside the circle of Muscat because they did not frequent either any tend,or 4th floor at the MileEnd,or billboards, or employees at the One TV and Radio, or sided with Mintoff in the past. This is the legacy Muscat gave to the movement of lies,hypocrites, oligarchies, nepotism, cronyism, and PN dissidents.Vote Labour.
avatar
Another obligation directed to a Nationalist dissident who put Muscat to power and criticized severely the labour party and labour supporters. The list can read:Bondi, Bezzina, Dalli, Debono, Rizzo, Micallef,Friggieri, Bencini, Testa,Engerer, Willie the singer, Marshall, Grima.Compared to the 200 tal-qalba labour supporters engaged with the ministries the number is still insignificant.Muscat divided his own party in three: Tal-qalba labour supporter oligarchy,PN dissidents oligarchy; and lastly those loyal labour supporters that remained outside the circle of Muscat because they did not frequent either any tend,or 4th floor at the MileEnd,or billboards, or employees at the One TV and Radio, or sided with Mintoff in the past. This is the legacy Muscat gave to the movement of lies,hypocrites, oligarchies, nepotism, cronyism, and PN dissidents.Vote Labour.
avatar
Another obligation directed to a Nationalist dissident who put Muscat to power and criticized severely the labour party and labour supporters. The list can read:Bondi, Bezzina, Dalli, Debono, Rizzo, Micallef,Friggieri, Bencini, Testa,Engerer, Willie the singer, Marshall, Grima.Compared to the 200 tal-qalba labour supporters engaged with the ministries the number is still insignificant.Muscat divided his own party in three: Tal-qalba labour supporter oligarchy,PN dissidents oligarchy; and lastly those loyal labour supporters that remained outside the circle of Muscat because they did not frequent either any tend,or 4th floor at the MileEnd,or billboards, or employees at the One TV and Radio, or sided with Mintoff in the past. This is the legacy Muscat gave to the movement of lies,hypocrites, oligarchies, nepotism, cronyism, and PN dissidents.Vote Labour.
avatar
Is there anybody left for Joseph Muscat to promote. It seems that anybody that helped the PL with the win for the PL or not is being rewarded. Even some of the PN die hearts are jumping on the band wagon. Get it while you can because pretty soon there will be no more room for any more promotions.
avatar
Tal-Klikka, ghal tal-Klikka u fil-Klikka. Amen
avatar
Perhaps the article could have benefited from noting that Fmr Ambassador Cole is now Permanent Secretary at the MFA?