Lawrence Gonzi

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Lawrence Gonzi
EPP Congress Marseille 7444.jpg
12th Prime Minister of Malta
In office
23 March 2004 – 11 March 2013
President Guido de Marco
Edward Fenech Adami
George Abela
Deputy Tonio Borg
Simon Busuttil
Preceded by Edward Fenech Adami
Succeeded by Joseph Muscat
4th Chairperson-in-office of the Commonwealth of Nations
In office
25 November 2005 – 23 November 2007
Head Elizabeth II
Preceded by Olusegun Obasanjo
Succeeded by Yoweri Museveni
Personal details
Born (1953-07-01) 1 July 1953 (age 60)
Pietà, Malta
Political party Nationalist
Spouse(s) Catherine Callus1
Children 3
Religion Roman Catholicism

Lawrence Gonzi (born 1 July 1953) was Prime Minister of Malta from March 2004 to March 2013. He was also leader of Nationalist Party. He also served as Speaker of the House of Representatives of Malta from 1988 to 1996 and Minister of Social Policy from 1998 to 2004, as well as Deputy Prime Minister from 1999 to 2004.2

Political life

Speaker of the House of Representatives

After unsuccessfully contesting the 1987 general election with the Nationalist Party, Gonzi was appointed Speaker of the House of Representatives in the following year. In 1992 he was his re-appointment to the post was made on the proposal the Prime Minister and seconded by the Leader of the Opposition and approved unanimously.

During his term as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Gonzi overhauled the methods in which Parliament used to operate, such as the set up of permanent committees. While serving as Speaker, Gonzi introduced new procedures with regards to the time established for the debate between the two sides of the House. His tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives exposed his modest but firm bearing, which has helped calm frayed tempers during quite difficult moments for the house.3

Member of Parliament

Gonzi contested the October 1996 General Elections and was elected to Parliament. In November 1996, he was appointed Opposition Party Whip, Secretary to the Parliamentary Group and Shadow Minister for Social Policy. One year after he was elected Secretary General of the Nationalist Party.

Following the September 1998 General Elections, Gonzi was appointed Minister for Social Policy and Leader of the House of Representatives. He also served as Deputy Prime Minister from May 1999 to March 2004.

In the election of 12 April 2003, Gonzi was re-elected and reappointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Policy.

Prime Minister

Lawrence Gonzi and Vice Chancellor of Austria Josef Pröll at the 2010 EPP summit

Following the resignation of Eddie Fenech Adami as party leader, Gonzi won the leadership contest held in March 2004. He was appointed Prime Minister on 23 March 2004. On 1 May 2004, Malta joined the European Union and as Prime Minister, Gonzi attended the EU enlargement official ceremony which took place in Dublin, Ireland, where the Maltese flag was hoisted for the first time alongside those of the 24 member states. From 2004 onwards, he took responsibility for the finance portfolio as Minister of Finance, in which capacity he successfully managed the process to achieve the Maastricht criteria, propelling Malta into the Eurozone. Following the general election held on 8 March 2008, Gonzi was reconfirmed as Prime Minister. He relinquished his post as Minister of Finance but assumed responsibility for the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA), in particular its reform.

From local economy to euro economy

During the first term of his premiership, Gonzi guided Malta through a restructuring process that resulted in Malta’s economy fulfilling the required criteria for the adoption of the euro as Malta’s national currency from 1 January 2008. He also embarked upon a drive to improve the management of public finances, focused sharply upon improving Malta’s competitiveness in the international market and accelerated the restructuring process of the public sector. 4

Re-election

On 8 March 2008, Gonzi was re-elected Prime Minister; he was the first Prime Minister in the Eurozone to be re-elected after introducing the Euro. In his first message to the nation at the beginning of this legislature, Gonzi said that the work of his government should be based on sustainable development with an emphasis on the country’s environment.

Libya policy

The Libyan crisis was a major foreign policy challenge for Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and his government.

The Prime Minister denounced the crimes against humanity being perpetrated by the Gaddafi regime at an early stage of the conflict when the outcome was not yet clear.

Throughout the crisis Malta served as a hub for the evacuation of foreign nationals from Libya, provided humanitarian and medical assistance to Libya, granted asylum to two Libyan Air Force pilots who defected after being ordered to bomb protesters, refused to return the pilots’ jets to the Gaddafi regime, allowed Nato jets implementing the UN-sanctioned no-fly zone to land in Malta whenever necessary and exchanged intelligence on the Libyan conflict with Nato.

Then, Lawrence Gonzi made it clear way back in March 2011, that Gaddafi’s exit was “inevitable”, a message he reiterated in early April when he told the visiting then Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister, Abdul-Ati al-Obeidi, that Gaddafi and his family “must go” and the Libyan people’s wish for democracy must be respected.

Malta’s support for the Libyan revolution has been appreciated by the country’s new rulers and the chairman of the Transitional National Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, has already made it clear that Malta will have a “distinguished role” in the rebuilding of Libya.5

2013 election

Gonzi's government fell on 10 December 2012 following loss of supply by one vote after ruling party MP Franco Debono voted against the government's budget proposal in protest over the government's mismanagement of major privatisation initiatives and dozens of other reasons related to his person.6 Parliament was dissolved on 7 January 2013 with an election held in March which resulted in a Labour victory, by a 35,107 vote margin.7 30 minutes after the start of the vote counting Gonzi conceded defeat 8 and later on that day held a press conference in which he expressed his desire to resign from the PN leadership.9

On 17 July 2013, he resigned from parliament, saying that his seat should be occupied by someone “who can give the electorate all his energy”.10

Family

Lawrence Gonzi is the son of Luigi and Ines (née Galea) Gonzi, and a grandnephew of Archbishop Mikiel (Michael) Gonzi. His younger brother is Michael Gonzi, a Nationalist backbencher.

He is married to Catherine (née Callus); the couple has three children.

Honours

National Honours

References

  1. ^ Associated Press (2013-03-10). "Malta election returning Labor party to power". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  2. ^ "Office of the Prime Minister". Retrieved 4 November 2009. 
  3. ^ "Dr Lawrence Gonzi". Gov.mt. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  4. ^ "Dr Lawrence Gonzi". Gov.mt. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  5. ^ "Gonzi’s successful Libya policy". timesofmalta.com. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  6. ^ Christopher Scicluna. "Video: Angry Franco Debono says he is building a new democracy". timesofmalta.com. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  7. ^ "BBC News - Malta government falls after PM Gonzi loses majority". BBC. 2012-12-10. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  8. ^ Debono, James. "Lawrence Gonzi concedes defeat, ‘opportunity for PN’s renewal’". Maltatoday.com.mt. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  9. ^ Debono, James. "Lawrence Gonzi to resign PN leadership in next General Council". Maltatoday.com.mt. Retrieved 2013-04-05. 
  10. ^ "Gonzi says farewell". timesofmalta.com. 2013-07-17. Retrieved 2013-07-17. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Jimmy Farrugia
Speaker of the House of Representatives
1988–1996
Succeeded by
Myriam Spiteri Debono
Preceded by
John Dalli
Minister of Finance
2004–2008
Succeeded by
Tonio Fenech
Preceded by
Guido de Marco
Deputy Prime Minister of Malta
1999–2004
Succeeded by
Tonio Borg
Preceded by
Eddie Fenech Adami
Prime Minister of Malta
2004–2013
Succeeded by
Joseph Muscat
Party political offices
Preceded by
Austin Gatt
General Secretary of the Nationalist Party
1998–1999
Succeeded by
Joe Saliba
Preceded by
Guido de Marco
Deputy Leader of the Nationalist Party
1999–2004
Succeeded by
Tonio Borg
Preceded by
Eddie Fenech Adami
Leader of the Nationalist Party
2004–2013
Succeeded by
Simon Busuttil
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Olusegun Obasanjo
Chairperson of the Commonwealth of Nations
2005–2007
Succeeded by
Yoweri Museveni







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