PM manoeuvre to get IVF bill enacted is a page out of his father’s playbook

George Abela had used a similar tactic to avoid signing the Civil Unions Bill when President.


The controversial IVF law was signed yesterday by Acting President Frank Bezzina thanks to a manoeuvre by Prime Minister Robert Abela that mirrors a tactic used to solve a Constitutional impasse in 2014 when George Abela was President.

The law has been sitting in President George Vella’s in-tray for three weeks despite the Constitution imposing that he sign laws proposed by parliament “without delay”. If he refuses, his only option is to resign.

As President Vella left the airport yesterday on his way to see the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Frank Bezzina immediately provided the consent needed for the IVF Bill to become law.

The move mimics the one made by the prime minister’s father, George Abela, eight years ago.

In 2014, just a few weeks before he was to leave office, then President George Abela had refused to sign the Civil Unions Bill.

The prime minister’s father had told Joseph Muscat, the prime minister at the time, that he was uncomfortable with same-sex marriages and insisted he would not give his consent.

Instead of immediately putting the Civil Unions Bill to a final vote in parliament, the Bill was left on the agenda for over five weeks until President Abela’s term ended in April 2014. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca was then made President, and the Bill was signed.

The prime minister’s father, who is regularly seen emerging from the Office of the Prime Minister, is a common factor in both situations.

The Shift is reliably informed that Prime Minister Robert Abela ensured there would be no obstacles to the process, even ousting nominated Acting President Dolores Cristina before discussing the matter with her, assuming she would oppose the Bill.

Cristina was sent a letter thanking her for her long service without being given a reason for the termination.

Then, in an unprecedented move, the prime minister appointed a complete outsider to the working of government, Frank Bezzina, in June to ensure the Bill would be enacted into law.

These manoeuvres allow President George Vella, 80, to hang on till the end of his term, another two years, while somehow satisfying his conscience since he has reservations on the new law, but apparently none when it comes to milking the State.

Vella agreed to go abroad while the Bill was signed as his plane took off.

The President of Malta is the highest office and carries a basic honorarium of almost €67,000 a year apart from other perks and benefits.

President Vella also receives the pension of a minister, more than €30,000 a year, to top up his remuneration as President.

Vella’s term ends on 4 April 2024, just a few days before he turns 82.

His political career as a Labour politician is marked by his hardline opposition to Malta joining the EU. He later endorsed Joseph Muscat’s bid for the leadership of the Labour Party when he ran against the prime minister’s father, George Abela.


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Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
1 year ago

Indeed, the role of Gorg Abela in a Gov hijacked by his son, is that of the God Father. He sits at Kastilja regularly, to master his son, and the rest of the Mafia gang made up of shady people who occupies top positions, securing total control. The comparison made Gorg Abela perfectly.

Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
1 year ago

Now something on the current President. This old man who manifests himself as a man of principles and values, is playing the role of Pilatus, to secure his comfortable and prestigious position till the end, avoiding to become a controversial president who stood firm to his values.
Today we know well what kind of standards and principles our President treasures. What a farce! They have no shame to hide.

1 year ago

Dan il-President jghix fl-istess rahal ta’ Ex-Ministru li bhall-President, tahsbu li kien ragel ta’ certu principji u valuri u hafna qdusija u mbaghad madoff tixxokkja ruhek tisma fl-ahbarijiet li hemm certu suspetti. Heqq m’hemmx xi tghid, kien hemm min kien Lupu u sar Haruf u kien hemm min kien Haruf li sar Lupu! Imma fl-ahhar mill-ahhar Id-Dnub ma jhallikx torqoghod u z-Zejt jitla’ f’wicc l-ilma illum, ghada Jew pied ghada!

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
1 year ago

When the next President is appointed, please forget about the oath.

1 year ago

My God, what a follower President George Vella is!
A person without backbone.

I can’t say he really made a difference,
but he did speak up once when there was going to be new construction near his home.

The question should be: What do we need him for? 
He is simply too expensive for Malta as a greeter, that makes no sense.

If ROBBER Abela would not just run away from the press,
then he should do 1-2 hours a week doing the job as President.

1 year ago

The only principle held by George Vella is a false sense of entitlement. He is intellectually deficient like the rest of them – wholly unable to distinguish between Responsibilty Vs False Morality; Being of Service to others Vs clutching to one’s Undeserved Status.

Keeps making a fool of himself – but there will be many gahans who would place him onto some ‘vara’ and some grant him sainthood.

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