Tista taqra dan l-artiklu bil-Malti.
President George Vella could remain in office beyond his five-year term as no discussions have started between the government and the opposition on who should take over the position in April 2024.
Prime Minister Robert Abela is responsible for initiating talks to find a replacement with the Nationalist Party opposition, but it is believed that this process has not yet started, despite there being four months until Vella’s term expires.
President Vella’s term ends in April, and usually, talks would be in full swing so close to the president’s end of term. Due to a change in the law on the president’s appointment, such talks are more urgent since the prime minister no longer has the option to appoint a president with a simple majority.
In 2020, following pressure from the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission, the Constitution was amended so that the president’s appointment requires a two-thirds majority in parliament.
There is also no deadlock system in place, meaning the incumbent president will remain in the role until the ruling party and the opposition agree on a new one.
In this case, Abela cannot repeat his move when appointing his man as the standards commissioner, where he changed the law to get his way.
Unlike the nomination of the standards commissioner, where the prime minister changed the law so that he could install his candidate, Joseph Azzopardi, the 2020 amendments are entrenched in the constitution, meaning the government cannot change the rules without a two-thirds majority.
So far, the prime minister has been tight-lipped about his intentions. However, there is speculation he favours university lecturer Frank Bezzina, but this is unlikely to enjoy support from the opposition.
Bezzina, the acting president when Vella travelled abroad, has little experience and was used by the prime minister to sign the controversial IVF reform law as Vella planned a trip outside the country to avoid signing it himself.
For the past 15 years, Malta has had three consecutive Labour presidents, with the prime minister’s father, George Abela, appointed by a PN administration, and Marie Louise Coleiro Preca preceding George Vella.
The role of the president of Malta is symbolic, as the role enjoys no executive powers.