President denies sending out ‘diplomatic signals’ to serve a second term

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca reiterates that no discussions have taken place over the possibility of being re-appointed president when her term expires next year

President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca
President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca

President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca was forced to issue a second denial in as many days that she has dropped signals on her wish to be re-appointed for a second term.

Coleiro Preca’s denial was prompted by a story in The Sunday Times of Malta that suggested she was sending ‘diplomatic signals’ to be able to serve a second term as president.

In a statement released on Monday evening, the Office of the President said that it would like to “make it clear” that “there have been no discussions, formal or otherwise, nor any ‘diplomatic signals' over the possibility of Her Excellency serving a second term as President of Malta”.

On Sunday, the Office of the President denied any discussions had taken place, to which the newspaper insisted that its report referred to ‘diplomatic signals’ not talks.

The report also claimed that the extension would require a constitutional change, adding the Opposition was unlikely to agree. Furthermore, The Sunday Times of Malta said the Office of the President was viewing the possibility of a constitutional reform convention, proposed by the Prime Minister, as a window of opportunity to get the necessary changes through.

However, in Monday’s statement, Coleiro Preca noted that both political parties have been promising constitutional reform since 2013, before her appointment as Head of State. “The first discussion on this matter between the President and the country’s political leaders took place in June 2014,” the statement read.

Coleiro Preca is currently on a State visit to Croatia. “The President… remains fully committed to her role, to which she continues to dedicate unerring energy and commitment,” the office said.

MaltaToday had reported last year that Coleiro Preca may be eyeing a return to politics and contest the European Parliament election in 2019 after her term of office ends. The President had denied the story and "completely excluded the possibility".

Coleiro Preca’s term ends in April 2019. Every president since Malta became a republic in 1974 has served only one term, although this may be a matter of constitutional practice rather than mandated by the Constitution.

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