Updated | Cabinet reshuffle imminent, Farrugia resigns, Mercieca asks not to be reappointed

Health minister Godfrey Farrugia pens bitter resignation letter to Prime Minister • does not want to take on different responsibilities • Prime Minister cancels visit to University • parliamentary secretary Franco Mercieca informed Muscat that he was not interested in being reappointed weeks ago

With Marlene Farrugia in the background, Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia and parliamentary secretary Franco Mercieca
With Marlene Farrugia in the background, Health Minister Godfrey Farrugia and parliamentary secretary Franco Mercieca
Godfrey Farrugia has 'given the health ministry back to' Joseph Muscat
Godfrey Farrugia has 'given the health ministry back to' Joseph Muscat
Parliamentary secretary Franco Mercieca: he has asked not to be reappointed
Parliamentary secretary Franco Mercieca: he has asked not to be reappointed

Health minister Godfrey Farrugia has surprisingly tendered his resignation from the Cabinet of Ministers.

Contrary to reports in the media, parliamentary secretary Franco Mercieca did not submit a resignation letter.

Godfrey Farrugia resignation letter
Godfrey Farrugia resignation letter

However, speaking to MaltaToday the Gozitan MP confirmed that a few weeks ago he informed the Prime Minister that he did not want to be “considered” in Muscat’s plans for the new Cabinet.

This newspaper is informed that Mercieca made up his mind to return to his ophthalmological practice, three months ago.

 

Mercieca, who spoke to MaltaToday while on his way to Gozo, added that despite making his intentions clear to the Prime Minister in a face-to-face meeting, Muscat “did not confirm” whether he accepted his demand.

In a letter sent to the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Farrugia said that he was resigning because he did not feel comfortable occupying the ministry vacated by Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, who next week becomes President.

Following the news of Farrugia's resignation, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat cancelled a visit to the University of Malta scheduled for 1pm.

In the letter posted on Facebook by his partner and fellow MP Marlene Farrugia, the popular Zebbug family doctor, thanks Muscat for offering him the post of “minister for social policy and family affairs and another ministry.”

"However, I inform you that I do not wish to occupy this portfolio and therefore I am tendering my resignation,” Farrugia wrote in the somewhat bitter letter.

Earlier this month, MaltaToday revealed that Farrugia was set to be removed as health minister and replace Coleiro Preca in next week's reshuffle.

The letter all but confirms that the Prime Minister is intent on taking on the health portfolio himself with Farrugia telling Muscat, “I therefore return this responsibility to you, since you feel that I should do so.”

He added that he had accepted the health ministry because he believed that it was a “golden opportunity to further my services to the dignity and needs of patients.”

Farrugia pointed out that over the past 12 months, together with his colleagues he “laid the foundations which the sector needed to become sustainable.”

Asked for their reaction by MaltaToday this morning, ministers Evarist Bartolo and Edward Scicluna refused to comment, saying it was "too early" to react to the news.

In an initial reaction to the news of the surprise resignation, the Green Party  chairperson Arnold Cassola described Farrugia as a “decent and humble person who was ready to listen and unlike other ministers did not allow power to get to his head.”

Expressing his sympathy, the Alternattiva Demokratika candidate for the forthcoming European elections said that the discontent shown by Marlene Farrugia in recent weeks “probably reflected Godfrey Farrugia’s own discontent.”

Speaking to MaltaToday, Cassola added that Farrugia must have felt let down by the Prime Minister’s decision to remove him from health, “looking at it as a vote of no confidence.”

“Godfrey Farrugia is the victim of Labour’s empty promises prior to the election, in which it promised heaven on earth but promises to cut the waiting lists and have medicines delivered at home have not materialised yet.”

However, Cassola said that Farrugia’s biggest error was that of having an office at Mate Dei which according to the Green Party chairperson “raised expectations.”

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