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12-Dr Lawrence Gonzi

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1953 –

PRIME MINISTER OF MALTA (2004 – 2013)

Born on the 1st of July, 1953 in Valletta, Lawrence Gonzi spent most of his childhood years in the Circolo Gioventu’ Cattolica, playing football and being a diligent pupil at the Archbishop’s Seminary in Floriana.

His interest in politics wakened during his Law Studies at the University of Malta from where he graduated as a lawyer in 1975. Following that he practiced law in a private firm and later on worked as a company lawyer with the Mizzi Organisation for whom he served as Group Chairman between 1989 and 1997.

Soon after his graduation as a lawyer, Lawrence Gonzi actively engaged himself in the Voluntary Sector, particularly in the sectors related to disability issues and mental health issues. He was also the General President of the Malta Catholic Action Movement between 1976 and 1986.

Having had these varied and enriching experiences within the voluntary and business sector, and spurred by the politico-religion conflict of the eighties, Lawrence Gonzi, decided to contest the 1987 General Election as a candidate with the Nationalist Party on the Second and Third electoral districts. He was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives on 10th October 1988 during the Sixth Legislature (1988-1992), and on the 5th April 1992 he was unanimously re-elected Speaker for the Seventh Legislature (1992-1996). His tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives exposed his modest but firm bearing, which has helped calm frayed tempers during quite difficult moments for the House.

Lawrence Gonzi contested the October 1996 General Elections and was elected to Parliament from the Second District. In November 1996, he was appointed Opposition Party Whip, Secretary to the Parliamentary Group and Shadow Minister for Social Policy. A year after he was elected Secretary General of the Nationalist Party, during which time he mustered the Nationalist Party into electoral victory just after twenty-two months of Labour Administration.

Following the September 1998 General Elections, Lawrence Gonzi was again elected from the Second District and subsequently appointed Minister for Social Policy and Leader of the House of Representatives.

The appointment of Prof. Guide De Marco as President of the Republic, on May 2nd1999 , prompted Lawrence Gonzi to contest and successfully get elected as Deputy Leader of the Nationalist Party. Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami subsequently designated him as Deputy Prime Minister. He re-contested and was re-confirmed to the same ministerial portfolio. During his years at the Social Policy Ministry, Lawrence Gonzi is best remembered for the changes in employment and industrial relations legislation, his zero-tolerance policy towards benefit fraud and for the landmark Shipyards Restructuring Agreement.

Eddie Fenech Adami stepped down as Leader of the Nationalist Party in February 2003, and in the subsequent leadership contest, Lawrence Gonzi won a large majority of the party support. On the 23rd March 2004, Lawrence Gonzi took oath of office as Prime Minister of Malta and Minister Finance.

Dr Gonzi led the PN to another electoral victory in 2008. On 11th March he took oath of Office as Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment

Following the electoral defeat in the General Elections of 2013 Dr Lawrence Gonzi announced that he was assuming complete and total responsibility for the general election defeat and was stepping down from the party leadership. He said he would not be a candidate when the party held the election of its leader and deputy leader as it was required to do in terms of its statute after a general election. However on 21 March 2013 he was sworn Leader of the Opposition ad interim.

Dr Lawrence Gonzi holds the record in Malta’s Parliamentary history. He was the first person to have been Speaker of the House, Parliamentary Whip, Shadow Minister, Leader of the House, Minister, Prime Minister and Opposition Leader.

In an interview to the Sunday Times on 21 April 2013, Dr Gonzi spoke openly for the first time about the fact he was losing sight in his right eye. “It’s a condition which hasn’t improved in the past 12 to 15 months notwithstanding treatment and injections in the eye. It’s a terrible experience,” he said about the problem which was first diagnosed in January 2012 in the midst of the PN Government’s crisis.

Following the election of Dr Simon Busuttil as Leader of the Nationalist Party on 8th May 2013, he resigned from Leader of the Opposition on 13th May 2013. On Wednesday 17 July 2013 he also resigned his seat in Parliament.

Lawrence Gonzi is married to educator Catherine nee Callus and have three children: David, Mikela and Paul.

________________

CABINET March 2004 – February 2008

Minister Ministry
Dr Lawrence Gonzi Prime Minister & Finance
Dr Tonio Borg Justice, Home Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs
Dr Louis Galea Education, Employment & Training, Youth & Sport
John Dalli Foreign Affairs
Dr Francis Zammit Dimech Tourism, Arts & Cultural Heritage
Jesmond Mugliett Transport & Urban Development Projects
Dolores Cristina Family & Social Solidarity
Ninu Zammit Resources & Infrastructure
Giovanna Debono Gozo
Dr Louis Deguara Health
Dr Austin Gatt Communications & National Projects
Dr Joe Borg Foreign Affairs
George Pullicino Rural Affairs & Environment
Censu Galea Communications & Competition Policy
Parliamentary Secretary Portfolio
Dr Michael Frendo Foreign Affairs
Tonio Fenech Finance
Helen Damato Health
Edwin Vassallo Competition policy
Dr Francis Agius Rural Affairs
Dr Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici Justice

Note: In July 2004 John Dalli resigned from Foreign Minister citing attacks by members of his own party, following allegations into awards of contracts for medical equipment and airline ticketing. All allegations against him were proven false, by the auditor general and by the police. The person who appeared as the author of the allegations was sentenced for two years in prison. Dalli remained a backbench MP. In 2007 the Prime Minister, after admitting that accusations against Dalli had been disproved, appointed Dalli as a personal consultant.

Dr Michael Frendo was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs.

CABINET March 2008 – January 2012

Minister Ministry
Dr Lawrence Gonzi Prime Minister, Tourism & Environment
Dr Tonio Borg Foreign Affairs & Parliamentary Affairs
John Dalli Social policy
Dolores Cristina Education & Culture
Giovanna Debono Gozo
Dr Austin Gatt Information Technology & Investment, Privitisation
Dr Carm Mifsud Bonnici Justice & Home Affairs
George Pullicino Rural Affairs & Resources
Tonio Fenech Finance, Economy & Investment
Parliamentary Secretary Portfolio
Dr Mario Demarco Tourism
Dr Chris Said Public Dialogue & Information
Dr Jason azzopardi Revenues & Land
Dr Joseph Cassar Health
Mario Galea Elderly & Community Care
Clyde Puli Youth & Sport

Note: John Dalli resigned as Minister and as Member of Parliament on 10 February 2010 on his appointment as European Commissioner. His Social Policy Portfolio was added to Dolores Cristina’s portfolio.

Dr Joseph Cassar was appointed Minister for Health.

CABINET January 2012 – March 2013

Minister Ministry
Dr Lawrence Gonzi Prime Minister
Dr Tonio Borg Foreign Affairs
Dr Joseph Cassar Health
Dolores Cristina Education & Employment
Giovanna Debono Gozo
Dr Austin Gatt Infrastructure, Transport & Communications
Dr Carm Mifsud Bonnici Home & Parliamentary Affairs, Local Government
George Pullicino Rural Affairs & Resources
Tonio Fenech Finance, Economy & Investment
Dr Mario Demarco Tourism, Culture & Environment
Dr Chris Said Justice, Dialogue & the Family
Dr Jason Azzopardi Fair Competition, Small Business & Consumers
Parliamentary Secretary Portfolio
Mario Galea Elderly & Community Care
Clyde Puli Youth & Sport

Note: Dr Carm Mifsud Bonnici resigned from Minister for Home & Parliamentary Affairs and Local Government following a no confidence vote in Parliament on 30 May 2012. It was the first time in living memory that a minister lost a confidence vote. The Ministry for Home Affairs and Local Government was taken over by the Prime Minister while Dr Tonio Borg took over Parliamentary Affairs.

Dr Tonio Borg resigned as Minister for Foreign & Parliamentary Affairs and as Member of Parliament on 27 Novemner 2012 on his appointment as European Commissioner after the resignation of John Dalli. Dr Francis Zammit Dimech was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs on 28 November 2012.

 

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