The Malta Independent 26 May 2019, Sunday

Watch - Updated: George Vella sworn in as Malta’s 10th President of the Republic

Thursday, 4 April 2019, 12:42 Last update: about 3 months ago

George Vella today was sworn in as Malta’s 10th President of the Republic.

A full morning of activities started with Vella leaving his home in Zejtun as hundreds of residents, including school-children, lining up the streets of the locality.

It was followed by a Mass led by Archbishop Charles Scicluna at St John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta

Vella, accompanied by his wife Miriam, walked from the church to the presidential palace, where he took the oath of office and delivered his first address as Head of State.

The oath was taken during a short but significant parliamentary session, led by Speaker Anglu Farrugia, which was attended by MPs as well as three former presidents, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, George Abela and Ugo Mifsud Bonnici. President Emeritus Eddie Fenech Adami was indisposed.

A doctor by profession, Vella becomes the second member of the medical profession to take responsibility of the highest position in the country. The first and only doctor to be named President so far was Censu Tabone, who served the country as its head of state between 1989 and 1994.

Since then, the post has been occupied by four lawyers and a notary public.

The four lawyers are Ugo Mifsud Bonnici, who was President between 1994 and 1999, Guido de Marco between 1999 and 2004, Eddie Fenech Adami between 2004 and 2009 and George Abela between 2009 and 2014.

Coleiro Preca, a notary public, was appointed in 2014 and she will hand over the reins on 4 April, a date that has come to be associated with the presidency since the last six Presidents have been appointed on the fourth day of the fourth month.

Coleiro Preca is the ninth President of the Republic, the seventh to come from the legal profession.

The first two Presidents were also lawyers, Sir Anthony Mamo, who was in charge when Malta became a republic in 1974 until he was replaced by Anton Buttigieg, who was President between 1976 and 1981.

Apart from Censu Tabone, the only other President of the Republic who did not come from the legal profession was Agatha Barbara, who served between 1982 and 1987. Barbara was a teacher by profession.

Albert Hyzler and Paul Xuereb served as acting presidents – never getting the full title of President – respectively between December 1981 and February 1982, and between February 1987 and April 1989. Hyzler was a doctor while Xuereb worked in journalism and education.

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