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04/04/2019 President Vella delivers unifying address after swearing-in

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President George Vella delivered a unifying speech at his inauguration on Thursday, saying that
one of his priorities would be that of seeking to heal divisions, including those caused by the
blots on Malta’s character caused by the murders of Karin Grech, Raymond Caruana and
Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The former foreign minister was sworn in at a special sitting of Parliament, taking over from his
former Cabinet colleague Marie-Lousie Coleiro Preca.

Dr Vella, said his would be a silent, impartial presidency that would also seek to be a moral
compass, a mirror of the people’s needs, giving a voice to those who were not heard and
solace to those who needed it.

Dr Vella said he was assuming the office with deep humility, gratitude and pride.

He said he had accepted to assume the role of President in order to serve the people and to
promote Malta’s values, including a fair distribution of wealth.

The concept of charity had unfortunately been eroded, he said, but those who needed help
should receive it as a right not as charity.

Economic wealth did not mean there was no material poverty, and he would therefore seek to
maintain the social commitment demonstrated by his predecessor.

The new President greets well-wishers in Valletta.

He would promote social welfare and a decent quality of life everyone was entitled for,
including migrant workers.

As a doctor, he would interest himself in developments in the health sector and continue to see
that there was respect for medical and moral ethics ‘including respect for life from its very

He would also closely follow the sector of the elderly, where it needed to be ensured that there
was no deterioration of living conditions.

In a mixed liberal community, Dr Vella said, Malta needed to be proud of its moral values,
including charity and solidarity.

He would also commit himself to education, whether academic or utilitarian, but also an
appreciation of art and culture.

Highlights importance of the environment

Dr Vella recalled that the environment had been among his first ministerial responsibilities in
1996. Much had changed since then, he said, but Malta’s size remained the same. 1/7
04/04/2019 President Vella delivers unifying address after swearing-in
Malta, he said, faced strong pressure on the natural and built environment, and he would be
recommending enforcement of the rules to ensure environmental sustainability.

He would also promote measures for better quality

of air and the sea and measures to avoid global

Absolute importance would be given by the

presidency to strengthen national unity. Having
different points of view was a sacred right but
there needed to be dialogue that was mature and
respectful, with no personal attacks.

National unity also meant dialogue between the

state and the various churches and religions. President George Vella delivering his inaugural
There was also a need to rekindle respect for
national symbols such as the flag, the anthem, the language, history and culture, the
constitutional structures and their laws, and especially, respect to the Constitution.

Differences remained on issues such as the rule of law, administrative powers and the blots on
Malta caused by the murders of Karin Grech, Raymond Caruana and Daphne Caruana

Dr Vella also spoke about his role as guardian of the Constitution and insisted that the process
for a revision of the constitution should be as broad as possible, including MPs, experts, NGOs
and civil society in general.

But even more important than updating the Constitution was the need for a commitment to
respect what was agreed upon.

The President also spoke briefly on foreign affairs and said that Malta, despite being small,
would remain relevant and would be respected as long as it showed itself to be competent.

Cites concerns with right-wing extremism, populism

His concerns, he said, included populism, right-wing extremism, climate change, organised
crime, human and arms trafficking and organised crime.
Malta could play an important role in international fora in the context of the Euro-Mediterranean

Malta should be proud of its values and morals even in international fora, he said, including in
the UN Security Council if it was elected to it in 2023-24.
“We need to be clear in our condemnation of exploitation of workers from other countries,
human trafficking, arms trafficking and organised crime.

Read the full address in Maltese on pdf below.

Dr Vella was sworn in by the Speaker of the House, Anġlu Farrugia.

A resolution for his appointment was approved by the Labour and Nationalist members of
parliament on Tuesday.

The ceremony was preceded by Mass led by Archbishop Charles Scicluna at at St John’s Co-

Dr Vella then walked to the Palace, where the parliamentary sitting was held in the Grand
Council Chamber.

Dr and Mrs Vella arrive at the Palace.

As soon as the oath of office was administered, the AFM fired a salute from Pope Pius V
Street in Valletta using vintage guns. Trumpeters sounded a fanfare in the Chamber.

The new President read a proclamation declaring that he has assumed the new duties and
then delivered his inaugural address.

The new President waved to the crown on St George Square from the Palace balcony.

READ: 'Defend Malta's heritage' - Archbishop's call to the new President

His first official function was to pay tribute to the fallen by laying a wreath at the foot of the
War Memorial in Floriana.

He then proceeded to San Anton Palace – his home for the next five years - where the staff
will be introduced.

President Vella will receive courtesy calls by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Opposition
leader Adrian Delia. 2/7
04/04/2019 President Vella delivers unifying address after swearing-in

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is greeted outside the Palace, with Mrs Muscat (left).

The role of the President

The President of Malta is the head of state and has a largely ceremonial role.

However, it is the President who decides who to appoint as prime minister after a general
election, basing his decision upon who in his judgement commands a majority of the members
of the House of Representatives.

The President summons and dissolves the House of Representatives and calls a general
election on the advice of the prime minister.

He/she may, however, act upon his own judgement to dismiss the prime minister or dissolve
the House if the government loses a confidence vote. Conversely, if the prime minister
recommends dissolution of parliament (before the end of its term) and the President considers
that the government can be carried on without dissolution and that dissolution would not be in
the interests of Malta, he may refuse to dissolve parliament.

The President is a key part of the legislative process. Draft financial legislation first needs to be
presented to the President who then recommends it to the House. The President also has to
give his assent to all Bills approved by the House before they become law.

In cases of public emergency, if the House is not in session, the President may by
proclamation summon it.

Despite this important legislative role, the President only addresses the House of
Representatives upon his/her appointment and at the summoning of parliament. Only one
President has addressed the summoning of parliament twice – Ugo Mifsud Bonnici did so when
Alfred Sant’s Labour government was elected in 1996 and when the PN government was
elected 22 months later.

Among other roles, the President receives the diplomatic credentials of new ambassadors to
Malta, chairs the Commission for the Administration of Justice and, acting on the advice of the
government, appoints judges and the heads of constitutional bodies.

The President may grant a pardon to convicted criminals as well as reduce or nullify court
sentences, acting on the advice of the Minister of Justice.

The President has a right to be informed by the prime minister and ministers of all affairs of

While judges and other holders of constitutional offices such as the Auditor-General and the
Ombudsman enjoy security of tenure and cannot be removed without a two-thirds majority of
the House, the President is appointed and may be removed by resolution of the House backed
by a simple majority. Removal of the President can only take place on the grounds of inability
to perform the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of body or mind or any
other cause) or inappropriate behaviour.

The term of office the President otherwise lasts for five years. There is no second term.

History of the presidency

The presidency came into being on December 13, 1974 when Malta was declared a republic.

The first President was Sir Anthony Mamo, the

only President who did not come with a political
background. He was previously Chief Justice and

The other Presidents were Anton Buttigieg, Agatha

Barbara, Censu Tabone, Ugo Mifsud Bonnici,
Guido de Marco, Eddie Fenech Adami, George
Abela and Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca. Paul
Xuereb was acting president for just over two
years. All previously served as ministers except
George Abela, who was deputy leader of the Malta's first President: Sir Anthony Mamo.
Labour Party and Paul Xuereb who was an MP
and later Speaker. Dr Fenech Adami was previously prime minister.

Biography: George Vella

George Vella, born on April 24, 1942, is the oldest person ever to have been appointed
President and the second to come from the medical profession, the other being Ċensu Tabone.

He has lived all his life in Zejtun and is best known there as a dedicated family doctor. He
graduated as a doctor in 1964 and later also specialised in aviation medicine, serving as a 3/7
04/04/2019 President Vella delivers unifying address after swearing-in
consultant to Air Malta and the Civil Aviation Department.

He first stood for election with the Labour Party in 1976 but was elected, by casual election in
1978. He was then elected during the general elections of 1981, 1992, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2008
and 2013.

George Vella (left) at Alfred Sant's swearing in in 1996.

In 1992 Dr Vella turned down an invitation from then Labour leader Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici to
be nominated party leader, but was then elected party deputy leader for parliamentary affairs
while Alfred Sant was leader.

He was deputy prime minister and foreign minister in the Sant government between 1996 and
1998 and then in his role as shadow foreign minister along with Dr Sant, spearheaded the
campaign against Malta joining the European Union, until the matter was decided by

Dr Vella is credited as having been the one to push Joseph Muscat into seeking the leadership
of the Labour Party when Dr Sant resigned after losing the 2008 general election.

When Labour was returned to power in 2013 Dr Vella became Joseph Muscat’s foreign
minister, focusing on broadening Malta’s relations with non-EU countries, particularly those
around the Mediterranean, the United States and China. He did not seek re-election in 2017.

Dr Vella is married to Miriam (née Grima), has two daughters and a son and seven

Attached files

President's address.


Watch: Vella described New fathers' 10-day
as 'a man of integrity' leave to become law

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Richard galea • 11 hours ago

I trust that Dr. George Vella will carry his role with a dignity and integrity that "The Off
10 △ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

E.Schembri > Richard galea • 10 hours ago

Exactly...hopefully we will not have another spineless president who claims to
put any of them into practice when given the chance!

If the president (the highest authority in the country) is afraid to practice what
not to succumb to selfishness and personal interests?
13 △ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

peter spiteri > E.Schembri • 9 hours ago

''spineless president'' Eh! Fine words to choose this morning!!
1△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

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Anthony DeGiovanni > Richard galea • 9 hours ago

Who is this Richard galea who 'trusts' ? Shame! The new president has a trac
2△ ▽ • Reply • Share › 4/7
04/04/2019 President Vella delivers unifying address after swearing-in
M. Camilleri > Anthony DeGiovanni • 8 hours ago
Really? Even when he formed part of that government run by Mintoff?
declared that his confused Partnership and Switzerland in the Mediterr
Thankfully, that day did not develop into an ugly situation when you ha
supporters gathered for a meeting outside Super One studios in Marsa
Malta into civil strife. George Vella, together with Joe Brincat, stood by
Vella is the President of a Member State of the EU, that same Union in
5△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

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F Galea • 10 hours ago

Useless role. Just an expensive pension.
3△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

leon mangion • 9 hours ago

Awguri Dr Vella
4△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Michael Seychell > leon mangion • 8 hours ago

Niftakar sew lill Dr. George Vella meta kont ghadni Laburist fil-kariga ta'Memb
nista nzid li kien wiehed li qatt ma kien isemma li xi darba iccappas fil-pozizzjo
success matul il-Presidenza tieghu.
4△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

F Galea > Michael Seychell • 4 hours ago

But he did vote in favour of Konrad Mizzi, didn't he? How's that for mor
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

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Joline Ribieri • 8 hours ago

quote "The President may grant a pardon to convicted criminals as well as reduce or
of the Minister of Justice."

Is this what has delayed Daphne `s case ?

2△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Anthony DeGiovanni > Joline Ribieri • 6 hours ago

Joline that was what set Queroz free! And that is what put the oils scandal to s
2△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

vince collins > Joline Ribieri • 2 hours ago

FIRST, there has to be a conviction for individuals to be pardoned.
IF you're talking about 'immunity from prosecution', as in the oil saga, that has
into the equation.
MAYBE, 'plea bargaining' to get to know WHO is the 'mastermind', if he/she is
ONLY in case there actually is a 'mastermind'.
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Joe A Borg • 6 hours ago

" Dr Vella is credited as having been the one to push Joseph Muscat into
seeking the leadership of the Labour Party when Dr Sant resigned after
losing the 2008 general election."

How thoughtful!
2△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

S. Schembri • 5 hours ago

Congrats to Dr. Vella. Hope he'll do more than fund raising!
1△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Chris O' Neill • 5 hours ago

What half-sober individual is responsible for selecting Ms Muscat's dress? Certainly n
doesn't screw up, he's never adventurous but at least, people won't look for the wron

Actually, they probably will but for another wrong reason!

2△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

M Borg > Chris O' Neill • 4 hours ago

I think she just forgot her bfast serviette on her head in the rush to beat the tra
1△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Joseph Croker • 5 hours ago

Trust that President Vella will translate beautiful words into facts. Good luck and God
2△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Anthony Mercieca • 5 hours ago

Having a President declaring to defend life from conception and be on the side of the
over corrupt country.
3△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

K Zahra > Anthony Mercieca • 4 hours ago

True, but isn't that what they all say when being sworn in as President?
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Schembri Ray • 4 hours ago

Dr. Vella is what we need now urgently as our nation is sick in many aspects.
3△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

M Micallef • 4 hours ago

Charity is not a right, it's a moral duty, but one done by the individual, not through tax
Malta to elect a man who is not consumed by politics. The presidency is slowly turnin
parliament. 5/7
04/04/2019 President Vella delivers unifying address after swearing-in

Good luck to Dr Vella.

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Anthony DeGiovanni > M Micallef • an hour ago

Mr Micallef as you say charity is a moral duty on the part of the donor but dec
healthcare and welfare are the absolute rights of every person. Unfortunately,
that prefers to turn a section of the population into paupers so that they can fla
introduced income tax which was the basis for the welfare state was daubed '
professed charity!. Universal education was also opposed. More recently the e
special needs was even played down by a supposedly 'moral' authority claimi
President Vella was very right in opening his first speech with this hallmark of
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Charles Mizzi • 3 hours ago

Like so many other things in Malta, a lot of great talk, a lot of good things on paper bu
3△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

C.sant > Charles Mizzi • 3 hours ago

Hopefully not Mr Mizzi ! Better to view the speech from a positive outlook
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Chris O' Neill > Charles Mizzi • an hour ago

Sadly, I agree with you
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Andrew Farrugia • 3 hours ago

Best wishes to a man of substance and values.
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Paul Pace • 3 hours ago

For accuracy sake wasn't Dolores Cristina an acting president as well?
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Simon Abela • 2 hours ago

You have the same recycled politicians, running the country for last 25 years, suprsie
President. paroli biss fatti huma ftit!
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Francis Saliba • 2 hours ago

"Murders of Caruana Galizia, Karin Grech, Caruana 'a blot on national conscience'.

All those murders happened during a Malta Labour administration - the party of our n
Dom Mintoff insisting on his credo of "admissible violence in furthering political aims"
with the most durable MLP Commissioner of Police ending his inglorious career in pr
OF MALTA was governed by the Malta Labour Party.
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Henry S Pace • 2 hours ago

' Let's have a handshake and get rid of these people ' george vella.
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Henry S Pace • 2 hours ago

' George Vella, is the oldest person ever to have been appointed President '
it looks like an aged president representing Malta's ageing population.
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Henry S Pace • 2 hours ago

“We need to be clear in our condemnation of exploitation of workers from other count
ABOUT TIME !!!!!!!!!!
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Ernest Meli • 2 hours ago

Already I can disagree with the new president.

The nation is everyone. So how are murders like that of DCG, RC & KG a national bl

Not a blot on the nation Dr. Vella but the Administration.

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Carm Saliba • 2 hours ago

I'm convinced Dr. George Vella will be perfectly capable of fulfilling his new role, unlik
harping about national unity after spending her time as secretary general of the Labo
And can't the Prime Minister's wife ever find a decent dress that fits the occasion?
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

victor vella • 2 hours ago

J`alla Ecc G. vella jaghmel il-gid u jkompli jkattar il-gid kif ghamlu ta` qablu. Viva Malt
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Ronnie Callus • 2 hours ago

Dr. George Vella is going to deliver in other areas which needs to be addressed . The
were not so much touched. She was capable to reach every individual from young to
person has his own character . May that Malta citizens are made more closer to each
Vella, you are going to be an asset to our Country - Malta and other countries too .
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Henry S Pace • an hour ago

geprge vella did not say anything how to tackle corruption by Political ~ Exposed Per
This was so avoided completely.
George Vella - President of the Mafia State of Malta.
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T Borg • an hour ago

Labour in government has abandoned all sense of morality and correct behavior. The
moving also in that direction. Malta needs a moral compass. Let us hope that Dr. Geo
that Malta so desperately needs 6/7
04/04/2019 President Vella delivers unifying address after swearing-in
that Malta so desperately needs.
△ ▽ • Reply • Share ›

Pierre Schembri • an hour ago

"National Unity" Pity that he had voted against the nominations of former Presidents a
Abela's swearing in ceremony.
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