The Malta Independent 4 December 2020, Friday

Watch: Prime Minister says he will only call a Cabinet reshuffle if it is in the national interest

Kevin Schembri Orland Monday, 16 November 2020, 12:00 Last update: about 18 days ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela said that he will only call for a Cabinet reshuffle if it is in the national interest.

Abela was responding to questions posed by journalists in Paola. Rumours of a reshuffle have been floating around ever since MPs Miriam Dalli and Clyde Caruana took up their roles in Parliament.

Abela was asked about a rumoured Cabinet reshuffle and about the uncertainty and the feeling of instability towards future projects the situation is creating within the current Cabinet. "Don't you think that this delay is hampering the government's work?"

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Abela said there is no delay, no instability and no uncertainty as the question of a reshuffle was "ventilated by sections of the media. If and when there is a reshuffle it would be at the moment a reshuffle would be necessary. There is no uncertainty, no instability, no tension. We are working serenely and we will keep working on projects."

Abela said that what distinguishes them as a Parliamentary Group and as a Cabinet is "the harmony there is between us." He added that the government will keep working serenely and in harmony to continue improving people's quality of life.

The Malta Independent asked the Prime Minister about his statement on Sunday, regarding wanting the largest youth Cabinet in Maltese history and whether he means that the next Cabinet will see a number of veteran, older Cabinet Ministers no longer remain in such posts. He was also told that he was vague as to whether or not there will be a reshuffle and was asked whether he is not ruling it out.

"I have long been answering the question about whether or not there will be a reshuffle. That decision respects the discretion given to the Prime Minister as per the Constitution and I will exert it in the supreme interest of the country. That is the only criteria I will use. When the national interest dictates that there should be a reshuffle, then it will happen. If the national interest does not dictate the need for a reshuffle, then there won't be one."

As for the first part of the question, he clarified that he wants the next Cabinet to have the biggest composition of women and youths. "I believe in it and that is why I made an appeal for more youth candidates (for the next general election), which would be crucial in order for me to appoint the most youthful Cabinet in Maltese history."

"It is important for there to be strong candidates and that the people vote in those candidates as MPs, who can then be appointed to Cabinet."

He made an appeal to youth candidates. "We need you and I will keep chasing after you until you submit your candidature. Nobody can offer the same quality of leadership that youths can."

Opposition Leader Bernard Grech recently asked his MPs to inform him whether they had received any gifts or favours from the business community. Asked whether he will do the same with PL MPs and with Cabinet ministers, Abela said: "There is the code of ethics that already regulates this. If someone had to declare something as per the code of ethics but did not, then that person will be in breach of the code. The code of ethics is clear, no MP is to accept a gift that can in any way conflict with their role. As such the code of ethics regulates the situation and I stress that the code be observed."

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