[WATCH] Robert Abela’s decision time: Cabinet talks have been going on all day

Chris Cardona out of Cabinet • Chris Fearne accepts health ministry • Owen Bonnici moved out of justice • Backbenchers Clayton Bartolo, Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, Rosianne Cutajar, Byron Camilleri and Alex Muscat summoned to Castille

Prime Minister Robert Abela has spent his first day in office choosing his Cabinet
Prime Minister Robert Abela has spent his first day in office choosing his Cabinet

Updated at 10pm with Silvio Parnis

Robert Abela is meeting members of the Labour parliamentary group as he moves to appoint his ministers and parliamentary secretaries in what promises to be a long day.

This is Abela’s first full day in office after being sworn in as prime minister on Monday.

On his way into Castille this morning, Abela kept the cards to his chest: “All would be revealed in due course.”

Abela emerged victorious in a race against Chris Fearne, obtaining the support of 57.9% of party members.

Speaking to journalists as he entered Castille, Fearne refused to say what his future role in Cabinet will be, adding that was the prerogative of the Prime Minister.

He stuck to the script on his way out. Asked about Saturday’s defeat, Fearne said he respected the choice of the majority.

On Monday, Abela insisted that he was ready to work with Fearne after the latter failed to turn up for the inaugural speech at the Labour congress on Sunday and the swearing-in ceremony.

Silvio Parnis: "I don't expect anything... as long as we serve the people"

Silvio Parnis enters Castille

Local government parliamentary secretary said that he didn't expect anything from the new Prime Minister.

"I don't expect anything. Whatever comes my way, I thank him for it. As long as we continue serving the people..." he said, trailing off.

Joe Mizzi and Anthony Agius Decelis say they're happy to serve

Ministry for Energy and Water Management said that while he does not know what to expect, he is happy with whatever the Prime Minister asks of him.

Parliamentary Secretary for Persons with Disability and Active Ageing Anthony Agius Decelis said: "Happy to serve the Prime Minister and the people, whatever role is asked of me."

Ian Borg and Carmelo Abela refuse to comment

Transport Minister Ian Borg walked in contentedly to Castille, describing how he had a good day with his family but was now expected at the Prime Minister's office. 

On leaving Castille, Borg refused to comment on what was discussed.

Foreign Affairs Minister Carmelo Abela described his meeting as a positive one but did not elaborate.

José Herrera says no idea what to expect

The Environment Minister said that he had no idea what to expect as he was on his way to Castille for a meeting with Abela.

Julia Farrugia Portelli and Rosianne Cutajar mum

Former reforms parliamentary secretary Julia Farrugia Portelli did not comment as she exited Castille, telling waiting journalists that it was the Prime Minister's prerogative and wait for the official communication. Similarly, backbench MP, Rosianne Cutajar did not comment.

Edward Zammit Lewis: "I am happy as long as the PL is in government"

Former equality minister Edward Zammit Lewis exhibited little enthusiasm as he exited Castille after meeting Robert Abela, insisting that he trusted the Prime Minister. He described his meeting as "good", adding that all MPs will be helping Abela form his government. "I am happy as long as the PL is in government," Zammit Lewis said when asked whether he was happy with the meeting's outcome.

Michael Farrugia: "I have a role in cabinet"

Former home affairs minister Michael Farrugia appears to have lost his portfolio but will still be part of Cabinet. In a resigned tone, he told waiting journalists that he had a role to play in Cabinet, but did not elaborate.

Edward Scicluna in short 10-minute meeting

Former finance minister Edward Scicluna's meeting with Abela only last 10 minutes, in what is being interpreted as a continuation of his previous role. On exiting Castille, Scicluna said: "It is up to the Prime Minister to announce developments. I said what I had to say; he said what he had to say."

Michael Falzon: 'It is Prime Minister's discretion to choose his Cabinet'

Michael Falzon described the Prime Minister as "a responsible person" and insisted that this was not a question of having a positive discussion. "It is the Prime Minister's discretion to choose his Cabinet," Falzon said upon exiting Castille.

Chris Cardona moved out of economy ministry

Chris Cardona has lost the economy portfolio, with rumours suggesting that he has been offered the tourism ministry instead. However, Cardona is understood to have turned down the offer and will not be a member of Abela's Cabinet.

Evarist Bartolo: 'I am happy to continue serving the country'

Former education minister Evarist Bartolo told journalists his discussion with the Prime Minister went "very well". He did not lift the lid on what portfolio he will hold but Bartolo exited Castille together with former parliamentary secretary in the education ministry, Clifton Grima. "I am happy to continue serving the country," Bartolo said.

Silvio Schembri: 'PM's decisions in country's best interest'

Former parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri said the Prime Minister's decisions were "in the country's best interest", in his comments upon exiting Castille in the afternoon. Schembri and former Gozo minister Justyne Caruana were the first two people summoned to the Office of the Prime Minister this morning. Caruana is reportedly still inside Castille.

Owen Bonnici says he had 'positive discussion'

Former justice minister Owen Bonnici said he had a "positive discussion" with the Prime Minister, in comments after exiting Castille.

Bonnici reiterated the standard reply that it was the Prime Minister's prerogative to appoint his Cabinet and make the announcements at the appropriate time. Sources said Bonnici has been moved out of the justice portfolio.

Fearne accepts post

Chris Fearne has accepted a ministerial post, clearing the way for Abela to form his Cabinet. Fearne will retain the health ministry.

Shortly after Fearne exited a second time, the other deputy leader, Chris Cardona, the former economy minister, was seen entering Castille. Cardona did not comment on his portfolio when exiting Castille for a second time.

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