The Malta Independent 22 February 2018, Thursday

George Vella named as part of ‘high level group’ discussing Commonwealth succession

Tuesday, 13 February 2018, 13:30 Last update: about 9 days ago

Former Foreign Minister and Labour deputy leader George Vella has been named as part of a “high-level group” set up to discuss who might succeed the Queen as head of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Secretariat said.

The High Level Group that will make recommendations on governance of the Commonwealth Secretariat is holding its first meeting today at Marlborough House, the Commonwealth’s headquarters in London.

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The issue is hugely sensitive because the role is not hereditary and will not pass automatically to the Prince of Wales on the Queen's death.

This group is meeting officially to review how the Commonwealth is run by its secretariat and governors.

However, senior sources added that the gathering in London would also consider what happens when the Queen, who turns 92 in April, dies.

The group is expected to report to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in London in April, which is likely to be the last that the 91-year-old monarch will attend.

The Queen was proclaimed Head of the Commonwealth at her coronation in 1953, when she was head of state in seven of its eight members.

Although the Queen took over from her father George VI, it is not an hereditary position that will pass automatically to her son - who will be head of state in only 15 of the 53 member nations that now make up the Commonwealth.

Any decision about the future would have to be made by the Commonwealth heads of government at the time of the Queen's death. But there is no formal process for choosing her successor.

At their last Summit in Malta, Commonwealth heads of government directed the Secretary-General to form the Group. Today members are discussing the scope of the group's work and the areas of governance it will examine over the coming months. The process is open and the High Level Group reports to the heads.




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