New PM elected in Malta : a turning point ?

Robert Abela, a 42-year-old lawyer wins election to be Prime Minister of Malta and calls for unity after Joseph Muscat’s resignation over journalist murder.

A lawyer with little political experience

Robert Abela was elected leader og the ruling Labour Party in a vote among the party members on Saturday 11th January. The son of a former Maltese President (George Abela, his father, ruled the country between 2009 and 2014), he was first elected to Parliament in 2017. He has, though, little political experience.

Haowever, Maltese people has had enough of politicians with important political experience. Mr Abela has vowed to put more focus on social issues, particularly livong standards and pensions, and has offering free médicine to pensioners. He has also promised to strengthen the rule of law and boost good governance – issues for which Mr Muscat was repeatedly criticised.

Mr Muscat announced his resignation last month over accusatiions of having protected his chief of staff, Keith Schembri and others linked to Yorgen Fenech, a businessman who has been accused of being an accomplice in Mrs Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder. Both Muscat and Schembri Always denied their implication in the murder, but opinion has been more powerful

He wins by 58%

Mr Abela won nearly 58% of the vote held on Saturday by the party’s eligible members, defeating rival Chris Fearne, who was supported by several cabinet ministers.

Soon after his election, Mr Abela has expressed his will to continue his predecessor’s work and did not announce any turning point in his Policy. Rapidly, he has been criticised for that. « I am humbled. I thank my friend Chris (Fearne, ndrl) and look forward to working together for the good of the party and of the country » he said.

Both candidates had pledged continuity with Mr Muscat during their political campaign. Mr Muscat congratulated Mr Abela on his victory, saying on Twitter that he will be proud to handle the prime minister’s office over to him on Monday.

Obviously, Malta will still have to experience tough times in months to come…

Chloé LOURENCO