Updated to include Party reactions
In an unprecedented move, Prime Minister Robert Abela will be appointing a government contractor to occupy the prestigious, although symbolic, role of Acting President of Malta while President George Vella is absent from the country.
This was announced in a brief statement by the Office of the Prime Minister earlier today, which said that Frank Bezzina will be occupying the role of Acting President instead of former PN minister Dolores Cristina who used to step in every time there was the need for an Acting President.
Bezzina is a complete outsider to the workings of government and is involved in various businesses with Labour’s pollster Vince Marmara.
Bezzina, who is expected to act impartially in his role, is heavily involved in party politics and given various appointments by Robert Abela.
Apart from being nominated as one of the government-appointed pro-rectors at the University of Malta, where he teaches management, he is also the government-appointed chairman of Wasteserv and sits on the board of the Central Bank as a government appointee.
Together with Vince Marmara, who has been showered with direct orders and lucrative government contracts since Labour was returned to power in 2013, Bezzina is a business partner in Green Future Ventures Ltd, with a number of other businessmen, as well as having a 50% stake in Power Knowledge, a commercial partnership he had with Vince Marmara.
Power Knowledge was last year awarded a €604,000 tender by the OPM for so-called ‘mystery shopping’ for the public administration.
Marmara, together with Lou Bondi, has been organising activities with the Office of the President.
The OPM’s statement announcing the appointment of Bezzina as Acting President did not mention whether Abela had consulted the Leader of the Opposition before his nomination, as he is obliged to do according to the Constitution.
Opposition ‘ignores’ PM’s letter
Reacting to the news, the Nationalist Party said in a statement that it had not been consulted despite Opposition Leader Bernard Grech’s “good will in the best interest of the nation”.
The Office of the Prime Minister then published a letter sent to Grech on 2 June, giving him a week to provide his feedback.