George Vella sends clear message against abortion as he sets out his presidency’s priorities

In his first speech as President of the Republic, George Vella pledges to respect life from start to finish while emphasising the need for a just distribution of wealth and a good quality of life for all

President George Vella laid out the priorities of his presidency
President George Vella laid out the priorities of his presidency

President George Vella has pledged to "respect life from start to finish" in his first speech after taking his oath of office.

Vella was sworn in as Malta's tenth president set out his priorities, where he emphasised the importance of ensuring a good quality of life for all those living and working in Malta.   

“As a doctor, I will fight for the health of this country and the respect for life from start to finish of every individual,” Vella said, a clear indication that he will oppose any move to legalise abortion.

In an interview with sister newspaper Ilum, Vella said that he would refuse to sign any abortion law, insisting that he would rather resign.

The Zejtun doctor also stressed that the poor should receive help as a right and not through charity.

Outlining his vision for the role he will occupy for the next five years, Vella placed emphasis on social justice and proper distribution of wealth.

“I am convinced that whoever needs help should receive it as a right not as charity. We need to be aware that there is material poverty amongst our people,” he said.

Education will also be a key feature of Vella’s presidency. “Education too is close to my heart. I believe that without education there can be no economic prosperity, no culture and no harmony. I will encourage youngsters to use the technologies they have at hand to develop the talents they were born with.”

Vella also placed the environment as top of his agenda, recalling his first ministerial role between 1996 and 1998 as environment minister.
“Our environment is threatened. During my presidency, I will look to the authorities to show responsibility towards sustainability and their obligations towards future generations,” he said.

Vella said civil liberties still needed to be protected and the role of women in society should be strengthened.

He cautioned against abuse on social media, which he insisted was not contributing to national unity.

“I encourage members of parliament to address their opponents with language that is fair and respectful. We should respect our language, our flag, our history, our constitutional structures, our laws, and our national anthem. This is the basis of national unity,” Vella added.

Vella also touched on the politically sensitive murders that have damaged the national conscience. “The murders of Karen Grech, Raymond Caruana and Daphne Caruana Galizia are still fresh wounds but they are not representative of the Maltese character,” Vella said.

A former foreign minister, Vella is likely to give his presidency an international flavour.

“In international fora, we need to be convicted about our cause for peace, our disagreements with conflict. We need to be unequivocal about our opposition to the trafficking of arms, people and drugs especially because of our strategic position in the Mediterranean,” Vella said.

He also saluted the diaspora of Maltese people across the world and encouraged them to make a good name for their beloved country.

Vella started his speech by marking the work done by his predecessors. 

"It's difficult to express the emotions I feel right now. The largest sentiment is the profound humility in the face of duty I have been entrusted. I am honoured to be part of the illustrious people who occupied this office. I promise that I will take into consideration the good deeds that they have done.”

Vella thanked his parents, wife Miriam and his children, who he said built his life and gave him so much satisfaction.

Vella is Malta’s 10th president and his nomination was approved by both sides of the House, bar the two Democratic Party MPs.