Bartolo favourite for President, Dalli for EU Commissioner in 2019 reshuffle

A reshuffle is in the works for next year, with Education Minister Evarist Bartolo being the preffered replacement for Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo is the PL's favourite to be Malta's next President, while European Affairs Minister Helena Dalli is the strongest possibility for European Commissioner
Education Minister Evarist Bartolo is the PL's favourite to be Malta's next President, while European Affairs Minister Helena Dalli is the strongest possibility for European Commissioner

Evarist Bartolo is the Labour Party's person of choice to become Malta's next president, sources within the party have said.

Illum reported Sunday that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will be announcing a cabinet reshuffle, involving a number of new and returing faces as well as promotions.

The newspaper said that, according to its sources, all appears set for Bartolo to replace Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca as President when her term comes to an end in April next year. 

While George Vella had also been as a potential successor to Coleiro Preca, this no longer looks to be a possibility, since the former Labour foreign minister repeatedly refused to accept the offer.

In turn, it is ex-Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis who is Labour's favourite to take the helm of the Education Ministry in Bartolo's stead. Zammit Lewis had been re-elected to Parliament in 2017 through a by-election.

Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi will be appointed the ministry's parliamentary secretary, Illum said, marking the first time he will occupy a role within Muscat's cabinet.

The Labour MP was elected for the first time in the last election, and was the party's president, as well as having led the Grand Harbour Regernation Corporation.

Helena Dalli for European Commissioner

The newspaper also reported that European Affairs Minister Helena Dalli is considering the possibility of succeeding Karmenu Vella as European Commissioner. Vella's term come to an end next year.

The sources said that Dalli's candidature is being "seriously considered" by the government.

Coleiro Preca, while also an option, doesn't appear to be the preferred candidate for the position.

If Dalli leaves her ministerial post and becomes Commissioner, parliamentary secretary Aaron Farrugia will be made minister instead of her, with Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar in turn being given the role of equality parliamentary secretary.

Both Farrugia and Cutajar are new and young MPs, having first been elected in 2017.

Farrugia, who contested the first district, obtained 3,600 first count votes, while Cutajar - who was previously mayor of Qormi - got 1,934 votes on the sixth district.

More in National