Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has announced the members of his new Cabinet, which will include at least eight new faces, many of them elected for the first time in Saturday’s election. Seven of them have been appointed Parliamentary Secretaries with responsibilities for various sectors including, for the first time, financial services. And Michael Falzon has returned to the Cabinet as Minister.
A number of Ministers have retained their original portfolios, and others have been given new responsibilities, among them Ian Borg, Carmelo Abela, Helena Dalli, Joe Mizzi and Konrad Mizzi. Justyne Caruana has been elevated to Minister for Gozo, and Anton Refalo will not be part of the New Cabinet, which also has two less members that the previous Cabinet.
The Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries are expected to be sworn in tomorrow in a ceremony at the Palace in Valletta. The Prime Minister also announced that Parliament is expected to meet for the first time on Saturday 24 June, for the Speech by the President of Malta.
The new Cabinet in Joseph Muscat’s second legislature will include, besides the Prime Minister, 14 Ministers and nine Parliamentary Secretaries.
In the new Government Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will be responsible not only for implementation of the electoral manifesto but also for Financial Services, the Digital Economy and Innovation. He will be assisted with these responsibilities at Castille by Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri and Julia Farrugia will be Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Reforms, Citizenship and Administrative Simplification.
Labour Party Deputy Leader Chris Cardona has been confirmed as Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Businesses. Veteran Minister Evarist Bartolo has also been confirmed as Minister for Labour and Education, and will be assisted by Dr Clifton Grima as Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations.
Minister Joe Mizzi has been given new responsibilities as Minister for Energy and Water Management. The same with Helena Dalli, who besides Equality has been given added responsibility for European Affairs. And Dr Aaron Farrugia will be Parliamentary Secretary within her Ministry, with responsibility for European Funds and Social Dialogue.
Professor Edward Scicluna has been confirmed as Finance Minister, and Minister Konrad Mizzi has been given new responsibilities as Minister for Tourism, and is also responsible for the restructuring of Air Malta.
The Ministry for Home Affairs and National Security will now be handled by Dr Michael Farrugia, and the previous incumbent Carmelo Abela will now be responsible for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion.
Justice, Culture and Local Government have been retained by Dr Owen Bonnici, who will have Silvio Parnis as Parliamentary Secretary for Local Government and Dr Deo Debattista as Parliamentary for Consumer Protection and Valletta 18.
Dr Jose’ Herrera has been confirmed as Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change. He will be assisted by architect Clint Camilleri as Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights.
Dr Chris Fearne has retained the Health Ministry, and Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects will now be handled by Dr Ian Borg. The Prime Minister described this as the biggest Ministry. Chris Agius will be serving in this Ministry as Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Planning and the Property Market.
Former Parliamentary Secretary Justyne Caruana has been elevated to Minister for Gozo.
Dr Michael Falzon is back in Cabinet as Minister for the Family, Children’s Rights and social Solidarity. Roderick Galdes will be part of the same Ministry as Parliamentary Secretary for social Accommodation, as will be Anthony Agius Decelis as Parliamentary Secretary for the Disabled and Active Ageing.
The Prime Minister also stated that Dr Robert Abela will be his legal consultant in Cabinet, and Dr Byron Camilleri will be the Whip for the Labour Parliamentary Group.
“I have told MPs that I will be expecting correctness and very high standards from them, as I have listened to what the people said, and from what I heard we have to show more seriousness,” Dr Muscat stated.
Referring to Konrad Mizzi’s appointment, the Prime Minister said that through this appointment he wanted to bring Air Malta back on its feet as he had done with Enemalta, and expressed the hope that this would be done in the shortest possible time. Dr Muscat said the choice of Dr Mizzi was based on his competence.
Regarding the fact that casual elections have still not been held, Dr Muscat said the potential candidates understood that the country could not wait until next week. Dr Muscat added that the Cabinet appointed at the beginning of a legislature need not necessarily mean it would remain the same throughout the legislature. Regarding the fact that former Gozo Minister Anton Refalo would not be part of the Cabinet, Dr Muscat indicated that he could have offered him new responsibilities which Dr Refalo had declined.
Questioned about Keith Schembri as Chief of Staff, the Prime Minister stated that nothing would change about this, and as he had promised before the election, if Mr Schembri is placed under criminal investigation he will be removed at once. Questioned about the choice of Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Muscat said this post would be filled when the Labour General Conference will elect a Deputy Labour Leader for Parliamentary Affairs by the end of July.
This is the full list of Cabinet members:
Parliamentary Secretary within the OPM, responsible for Financial Services, the Digital Economy and Innovation – Silvio Schembri
Parliamentary Secretary within the OPM, responsible for Citizenship, Simplification and Reforms – Julia Farrugia
Minister for the Economy, Investment and Small Enterprises – Chris Cardona
Minister for Labour and Education – Evarist Bartolo
Parliamentary Secretary for Youth Sport and Voluntary Organisations – Clifton Grima
Minister for Energy and Water Services – Joe Mizzi
Minister for European Affairs and Equality – Helena Dalli
Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue – Dr Aaron Farrugia
Finance Minister, and entities like Malita and National Development Bank – Edward Scicluna
Minister for Tourism – Konrad Mizzi
Minister for Home Affairs and National Security – Dr Michael Farrugia
Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government – Dr Owen Bonnici
Parliamentary Secretary responsible for Local Government – Silvio Parnis
Parliamentary Secretary for Consumer Protection and Valletta 18 – Dr Deo Debattista
Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development and Climate Change – Dr Jose’ Herrera
Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture and Fisheries – Clint Camilleri
Minister for Health – Dr Chris Fearne
Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion – Carmelo Abela
Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, together with Planning – Dr Ian Borg
Parliamentary Secretary for Planning and the Property Market – Chris Agius
Minister for Gozo – Justyne Caruana
Minister for the Family and Children’s Rights – Dr Michael Falzon
Parliamentary Secretary for Social Accommodation – Roderick Galdes
Parliamentary Secretary for the Disabled – Anthony Agius Decelis
Labour Parliamentary Group Whip – Dr Byron Camilleri
Legal consultant – Dr Robert Abela