Updated | Michael Refalo, former minister and high commissioner, passes away

Refalo passed away aged 78

Michael Refalo at his investiture in 2007
Michael Refalo at his investiture in 2007

Former tourism minister Michael Refalo passed away this morning, aged 78.

Refalo was born in Sliema and was first elected in 1971, on the Nationalist party ticket. He was reelected every time until 1998.

He went on to occupy the post of parliamentary secretary for tourism in 1987, with a reappointment in 1992. He was appointed minister for justice in 1995 and for tourism in 1998.

He was the editor of the il-Mument newspaper between 1972 and 1980.

Refalo was Malta's High Commissioner to the UK between 2005 and 2008, after which he was appointed chairman of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s executive committee. 

In 2007, he was made a Companion of the National Order of Merit.

He has four children with his wife Blanche Smith.

The Nationalist party paid tribute to Refalo's work as a politician and his success in his role - he was elected ten times, serving in parliament for a total of 33 years. 

The Labour party extended its condolences to Refalo's family while acknowledging his dedicated work in the tourism sector.

While offerings its condolences, the government said that Malta has lost a political personality who gave a great economic contribution that allowed Malta to advance.

“Refalo worked for Malta to achieve independence, one of the country’s greatest historic achievements. The impacts of his work in the tourism and culture sectors can still be felt today.”

The Malta Tourism Authority also expressed its condolences and acknowledged Refalo’s contribution to the tourism sector during his tenure as Tourism Minister between 1998 and 2003. 

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