Out for the summer: Where the leaders will go on holiday and what’s on their reading list

Where will they go on holiday and what’s on their reading list? MARIA PACE spoke to President Marie Louise Coleiro-Preca, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Opposition leader Adrian Delia, and Archbishop Charles Scicluna

It has been a stressful week in the aftermath of the Egrant inquiry report, and the summer heat isn’t helping anyone keep their cool.

So we asked Malta’s leaders how they’re planning to de-stress during the summer and where they plan to escape.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat seemed excited to take a break with his family since the publication of the Egrant inquiry appears to have set his mind to rest, but told MaltaToday he wasn’t sure where to go. Recent reports suggested that his wife Michelle and him were recently in Los Angeles before travelling on more official business to Japan.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna is also in vacation mode. He recently went to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage with youths, but then he set off once again to go to Caltagirone in Sicily, for the titular feast of St James.

On the other hand, Opposition leader Adrian Delia and the President of the Republic Marie Louise Coleiro-Perca will be staying behind this summer.

While Delia said he had already taken his break on a four-day trip to a Sicily agritourism farm with his large family, Coleiro-Preca’s hectic schedule will only allow her to break off next year.

And how do the party leaders deal with their biggest ‘opponents’ – their own kids – when the family goes on holiday?

Delia’s family seem to be as resistant as some of his own rebel MPs: he said he is often outvoted by his family members. “While I’d rather go sightseeing, my wife wants to relax at the hotel spa. My children, on the other hand, would rather go to a fun park,” he said. “We’re strong believers of democracy, so they outvote us every time.”

Muscat, on the other hand, positions himself as a consensus-builder, saying the family alternates between sightseeing and going to fun parks, keeping everyone happy until the end of the trip.

And when they’re not on holiday, they all like going for a quick dip. Siggiewi boy Adrian Delia says he enjoys going to Ghar Lapsi, while the Archbishop chooses the Ancient Baths area in St Paul’s Bay, just between the Sirens club and il-Menqa. Similarly, Bugibba and St Paul’s Bay hold a special place in the President’s heart, who says she used to go there as a young girl.

Muscat confessed he’d much rather leave the swimming to his wife, but admits a preference for Fekruna Bay in Xemxija when the opportunity arises.

The leaders also have some impressive reading lists this year.

Archbishop Scicluna’s reading is in line with the job, listing Maltese priest Rob Galea’s Breakthrough, Pope Francis’s Adesso Fate Le Vostre Domande, and Catholics’ prime essayist and novelist of choice, G.K. Chesterton’s The Complete Father Brown Stories.

Even Coleiro-Preca has a reading list well suited to her diplomatic and humanitarian values: the seminal autobiography of South African statesman Nelson Mandela, The Long Walk To Freedom, Malala Yousafazi’s I Am Malala, and The Girl From Aleppo by Nujeen Mustafa, a book about a teenager born with cerebral palsy who underwent the journey from war-ravaged Syria to Germany in a wheelchair.

It’s Delia who ventures off his comfort ground, planning to read former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis’s Talking To My Daughter About the Economy, then lowering the intensity with a John Grisham thriller, The Rooster Bar, and M. Scott Peck’s best known work, the popular psychological book The Road Less Travelled. That’s quite a literary voyage for the summer.

Even the Prime Minister’s book list sounds ambitious, starting with some evolutionary history with Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, then relaxing with Australian-Maltese chef Shane Delia’s Spice Journey: Adventures in Middle Eastern Cooking, and then getting back to some political fiction with the thriller The President Is Missing by former US President Bill Clinton and acclaimed thriller author James Patterson.

 

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