The Malta Independent 21 January 2020, Tuesday

Updated - 48 hours without a Cabinet: Here are some indications

Wednesday, 15 January 2020, 07:49 Last update: about 6 days ago

It has been nearly 48 hours since Robert Abela took an oath of office to serve as Malta’s Prime Minister.

Since then, there has been a flurry of meetings at Castille for him to form a Cabinet of Ministers and parliamentary secretaries.

Nothing has been made official yet, but several ideas have filtered through to the media.

Here are some indications:

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Chris Fearne will remain Health Minister and Deputy PM. At first it is understood that there was some resistance from Fearne to accept the position from the man who beat him at the election for the Labour Party leadership. But once this was cleared, Abela could continue with his plan.

Chris Cardona, the other deputy leader of the PL, will not be a minister. Abela wanted to give him a portfolio which is different from the one he has held in the past years, that of economy minister. Cardona is believed to have declined. He will remain as an MP.

Silvio Schembri is set to replace Cardona as economy minister, and will also be responsible for trade and Air Malta. Schembri was parliamentary secretary under Joseph Muscat.

Edward Scicluna will most likely remain in his position as finance minister, while another veteran MP, Evarist Bartolo, is being mentioned as the next Foreign Minister. Justyne Caruana is to retain her seat as Gozo Minister.

Owen Bonnici will be a minister, but he will not retain his position as minister of justice, which could be given to Edward Zammit Lewis. Bonnici, who openly supported Fearne in the election campaign, will get education.

Byron Camilleri, who served as government whip, is set to be given a huge promotion to the Home Affairs Ministry. Michael Farrugia, who served in this role under Muscat, is to be given another portfolio, possibly that of energy.

Ian Borg is expected to lose planning from his massive portfolio, but will retain infrastructure and transport. Planning will be taken over by Aaron Farrugia.

Julia Farrugia Portelli is set to get a promotion to minister, likely that of tourism, which has been vacant since the resignation of Konrad Mizzi in November. Another promotion could be that of Roderick Galdes.

Rosianne Cutajar will be replacing Farrugia Portelli as parliamentary secretary for equality and reforms. Clayton Bartolo will replace Silvio Schembri as parliamentary secretary for financial services.

It is likely that veteran Joe Mizzi will be the only other minister, apart from Cardona, who will lose his position.

Meetings will continue today and it is expected that the new ministers and parliamentary secretaries will be sworn in this afternoon.

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