[WATCH] Konrad Mizzi could be reappointed minister, PM hints on Dissett

Konrad Mizzi back as minister? Muscat says competence, district vote result, and seniority are key criteria for the appointment of ministers

Joseph Muscat (left) said he will reward competence, seniority and vote-winners with Cabinet positions.
Joseph Muscat (left) said he will reward competence, seniority and vote-winners with Cabinet positions.

Konrad Mizzi is likely to be retained as a government minister if Joseph Muscat’s four criteria of eligibility to his Cabinet are anything to go by.

Muscat told PBS head of news Reno Bugeja on Dissett that he would give ministerial posts according to competence, their district vote result, and seniority: three criteria that could easily be applied to his former energy minister, who earned a high 4,000-plus vote count on the fourth district and delivered on Labour’s key energy policy plank.

Bugeja quickly picked upon Muscat’s suggestion of how he will pick ministers, suggesting that correctness and integrity should also be part of the make-up, without expressly referring to Mizzi’s involvement in the Panama Papers.

“I think it is obvious that someone has to be correct, but they also have to be like-minded on policies,” Muscat said, refusing to divulge names.

Unrelenting, Bugeja said the PM had already said he would not reappoint people who had disappointed him in their performance. But Muscat insisted he would appoint the people who are best suited to carry out their duties, refusing to stray away from his criteria for appointment.

Muscat actually suggested that “a series of permutations” could lead to ministers no longer being part of the Cabinet – a veiled reference to the magisterial inquiry dealing with an FIAU report on offshore companies held by Mizzi and the PM’s chief of staff Keith Schembri.

A fourth criteria he mentioned was geographical distribution, suggesting Muscat will have to pick one of the newly elected MPs and promote them to minister to spread the executive power over the rest of the island.

The Prime Minister also declared he will not contest another general election campaign, signalling that Labour is now scheduled for a new appointment for a leadership election before 2022.

Muscat said it will be Labour delegates who will choose the country’s deputy prime minister when they will elect a new deputy leader for parliamentary affairs following Louis Grech’s decision not to contest the 2017 elections. Grech will be retained as a consultant to Muscat.

Muscat said MPs who are not ministers will still be allowed to contest the deputy leadership, which means this would lead to a new Cabinet promotion if such a situation arises.