The Nationalist Party in opposition will place the national interest first and foremost, party leader Lawrence Gonzi said this afternoon.
Speaking after he was formally sworn in as leader of the Opposition, Dr Gonzi stressed that the immediate priority was to ensure that the 2013 budget is approved as soon as parliament opens on April 6.
The 2013 budget had not been approved last December, when Dr Gonzi was Prime Minister, but the Labour Party which is now in government had pledged to retain most of its framework.
Dr Gonzi emphasised that our EU neighbouring countries were still facing tough challenges due to the economic turmoil while adding that it was vital for Malta to be extra careful in this regard.
The situation in Cyprus, he said, is highly worrying.
Cyprus' financial system (and country) in general is in a dire state and requires external assistance.
Dr Gonzi reiterated that his term as Opposition leader will be brief and added that the person to be chosen as new PN leader will also take up the role of Opposition leader.
The same day his party suffered a heavy defeat at the polls, Dr Gonzi announced that he will not seek to be re-elected as PN leader.
Dr Gonzi also revealed that the PN executive council will be meeting tomorrow with the aim of starting off the PN leadership race process but stopped short of revealing when the contest will officially kick off.