Updated | Cabinet: Robert Abela stamps his authority with major reshuffle

Key Cabinet changes | Roderick Galdes for housing ministry • Edward Zammit Lewis for justice • Byron Camilleri for home affairs • Aaron Farrugia for environment and planning • Owen Bonnici for education • Silvio Schembri for economy and Air Malta

Byron Camilleri and Edward Zammit Lewis will be ministers in Robert Abela's Cabinet
Byron Camilleri and Edward Zammit Lewis will be ministers in Robert Abela's Cabinet

This story is being continuously updated

What we know so far

  • Justice - Edward Zammit Lewis (minister)
  • Home Affairs - Byron Camilleri (minister)
  • Environment - Aaron Farrugia (minister)
  • Transport/Infrastructure - Ian Borg (minister)
  • Housing - Roderick Galdes (minister)
  • Education - Owen Bonnici (minister)
  • Finance - Edward Scicluna (minister)
  • Gozo - Justyne Caruana (minister)
  • Agriculture/fisheries/animal rights - Clint Camilleri (minister)
  • Foreign/European Affairs - Evarist Bartolo (minister)
  • Economy/Air Malta - Silvio Schembri (minister)
  • Tourism - Julia Farrugia Portelli (minister)
  • Local councils/culture - Jose Herrera (minister)
  • Digital Innovation - Clayton Bartolo (parliamentary secretary under finance)
  • Equality/Reforms - Rosianne Cutajar (parliamentary secretary under justice)
  • Cleansing/consumer affairs - Deo Debattista (parliamentary secretary under agriculture)

Edward Zammit Lewis will replace Owen Bonnici as justice minister and Byron Camilleri will take over from Michael Farrugia at home affairs in two of the most sensitive ministries in Robert Abela's new Cabinet.

The changes signal Abela's intent of stamping his authority on the renewed administration after being sworn in as Prime Minister on Monday. The changes were reported by sister online site Illum.

MaltaToday is also informed that Bonnici will become education minister, with Evarist Bartolo now placed as foreign minister.

Home affairs is particularly critical in the wake of criticism at the police force's inertia to investigate serious allegations of money laundering by people in power. The police also came in for strong criticism, not least by Abela himself, over the manner in which they handled the investigation into former chief of staff Keith Schembri after he was implicated in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Byron Camilleri, who served as Labour Party Whip in Parliament after the 2017 election, has now been tasked to captain the sensitive ministry, which Abela has pledged to devote more attention to. This will be Camilleri's first ministerial posting.

Zammit Lewis returned to Cabinet last summer as equality minister after Helena Dalli was nominated as Malta’s choice for European Commissioner. Zammit Lewis faces the task of aligning Malta to the proposals of the Venice Commission.

Ian Borg, the incumbent transport and infrastructure minister, posted a photo on Facebook suggesting he will retain his portfolio.

Agriculture and fisheries gets ministry with Clint Camilleri at the helm

Clint Camilleri
Clint Camilleri

Gozitan Clint Camilleri has been promoted with a super ministry that includes agriculture, fisheries, animal rights, consumer affairs and cleansing. He will have Deo Debattista as parliamentary secretary. Debattista will continue to shadow his previous portfolio that included consumers, cleansing and the medicines authority.

Jose Herrera gets local councils and culture

Former environment minister Jose Herrera has shifted sideways into a ministry that will include local councils and culture.

Housing is promoted to ministry with Roderick Galdes at the helm

Roderick Galdes
Roderick Galdes

Roderick Galdes has been promoted to minister for housing and social accomodation in Robert Abela's radical shake-up of Cabinet. Galdes was a parliamentary secretary for housing in the outgoing Cabinet, having piloted the rent reform legislation.

In line with Abela's emphasis on the need for more affordable housing, it appears the new Prime Minister has elevated the sector to a ministry in its own right.

Silvio Schembri gets economy ministry and Air Malta

Silvio Schembri
Silvio Schembri

Former parliamentary secretary for digital innovation Silvio Schembri has been elevated to economy minister instead of Chris Cardona. Schembri has also been given the responsibility of Air Malta, the national airline.

Schembri's previous portfolio for digital innovation will be given to Mellieha MP Clayton Bartolo, who will be parliamentary secretary in the finance ministry under Edward Scicluna.

Aaron Farrugia gets environment and planning

Aaron Farrugia
Aaron Farrugia

Former parliamentary secretary for European funds Aaron Farrugia has been promoted to minister and will now captain the environment ministry. In a move that could signal Abela's intention to shift the balance of planning decisions towards environmental considerations, Farrugia will also have the Planning Authority under his wing.

Rosianne Cutajar for equality, reforms, good governance

Rosianne Cutajar (left) will serve as parliamentary secretary under justice minister Edward Zammit Lewis (right)
Rosianne Cutajar (left) will serve as parliamentary secretary under justice minister Edward Zammit Lewis (right)

Zammit Lewis will have under his wing Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar, who joins Cabinet for the first time as parliamentary secretary for equality, reforms and good governance.

The Qormi MP has been a vociferous voice on equality issues, not least women's rights, and also piloted the law introducing crematoriums in Malta, during the outgoing legislature.

On Monday Robert Abela met with members of the Labour parliamentary group, as he began appointing ministers and parliamentary secretaries to form his cabinet. 

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

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