29/03/2004 - Results
Former Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami was elected President of the Republic of Malta on 29th March by the 65 members of the Chamber of Representatives, the only chamber of Parliament in the Mediterranean archipelago. Eddie Fenech Adami won 33 votes versus 29 (three representatives abstained). He succeeds Guido di Marco, who had been in power since 5th April 1999 and who is said to be aspiring to represent Malta in the European Union.
The Maltese president, who is elected for a five year mandate, only has a little power and mainly fulfils a representative role.
Eddie Fenech Adami, who is 70 years old, led the Nationalist Party (MLP) for 27 years. He was MP for 35 years before governing the island for a period of fourteen years. He was appointed Prime Minister for the first time in May 1987 after his party had spent 16 years in opposition. He was appointed again as government leader in 1992, 1998 and after the latest general elections on 12th April 2003.
Eddie Fenech Adami resigned from his position as Prime Minister on 23rd March in order to stand as candidate in succession to Guido di Marco. Before leaving his post he called on his countrymen to take advantage of Malta's geographic position to play a role in promoting co-operation between the European Union and the countries of the Southern Mediterranean.
Lawyer, Lawrence Gonzi, the fifty year old nephew of Michael Gonzi, the so-called Iron Archbishop and longtime adversary of Labour Prime Minister Dom Mintoff, succeeds Eddie Fenech Adami as head of government. He is the sixth Maltese Prime Minister since the archipelago's independence in 1964. Like the new President of the Republic Lawrence Gonzi maintains his government's desire take up the opportunities offered Malta by its entry into the European Union on 1st May next. He pointed out that the re-stabilization of finances and the creation of jobs would comprise his government's main objectives within which he would also undertake the role of Finance Minister. We should note that for the first time in the island's history two women have made their debut in the government team - Giovanna Devono has been appointed Minister of Gozo (the second island in the archipelago) and Dolores Cristina who will be responsible for the Family and Solidarity. John Dalli, former Finance Minister, who faced Lawrence Gonzi in the fight for the leadership of the Nationalist Party, is the new minister for Foreign Affairs.
According to an opinion poll published on 28th March last by the Maltese Times, half of the Maltese (54%) are not convinced of the new Prime Minister's ability to solve the country's present problems, versus 15% who believe the contrary. Half of those interviewed believe that the creation of employment must be the new government's top priority.