17 March 2004

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Changes at the top

- the deputy leadership, the new president, and the Cabinet reshuffle

By Julian Manduca

The election of the Nationalist deputy leader was never going to stir up the same excitement that the leadership contest did, but, after the nominations were received, the process became even more low key.
The ‘race’ for the second in command at the Stamperija is between two similar low key contestants, and an even more predictable outcome is expected this time around.
Tonio Borg’s election as deputy is likely to be overshadowed by private and public discussion about the expected Cabinet reshuffle and, of course, the appointment of the President of the Republic.
Immediately following Borg’s expected election on Friday the 19, latest Saturday 20, Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami will resign, and soon after, perhaps Monday, Lawrence Gonzi will be sworn in as Prime Minister. Malta could have a new Cabinet by Tuesday 23 March.
Gonzi is expected to change several key posts, and will have to find a replacement for both foreign affairs and social policy.
The new Cabinet may be involved in a discussion with new Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi about who should be appointed President to replace Guido de Marco, but Gonzi is not duty bound to discuss his choice with his party.
He will ‘consult’ opposition leader Alfred Sant about his choice, and if as expected, despite a virtual public outcry, Eddie Fenech Adami is appointed President, Sant will no doubt object.
The choice will still be Gonzi’s prerogative, however, and even if half Malta opposes, Fenech Adami will likely be President early April.

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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