PRESIDENT OF MALTA, H.E. DR. GEORGE ABELA
Dr. George Abela was elected President of the Republic of Malta on the 4th April 2009 following a Parliamentary resolution which unanimously approved his nomination as the eighth President of Malta. His nomination marks a historical development in the constitutional history of our Island since, for the first time after thirty six years, the President was elected by the unanimous approval of both political parties represented in Parliament. It is also the first time that the Government of the day nominated a President with different political leanings.
Dr. Abela was born in Qormi on the 22nd April 1948 and is the son of a registered port worker. He was educated at the Lyceum and the University of Malta where he first obtained his Bachelor of Arts Degree in English, Maltese and History and later on his Law Degree. He furthered his studies in European Law and obtained his Magister Iuris Degree in 1995. He also holds a Diploma to practice as a lawyer before the Ecclesiastical Tribunals in marriage annulment cases.
Dr. Abela worked in private practice for thirty-three years and has been a practicing lawyer specialising in Civil, Commercial and Industrial Law. He acted for twenty five years as the legal consultant of the General Workers’ Union and he represented the workers’ interests, affiliated in four separate trade unions, in the negotiations concerning the Air Malta rescue plan in 2002. He also represented port workers in the port reform of June 2007 which reform has been hailed by the European Commission as a model in social dialogue to be followed by other member states. He also served as legal advisor to the Medical Association of Malta and other house unions.
For many years, Dr. Abela has been deeply involved in the administration of sports in Malta, particularly in football. He first served as a treasurer in his village football club, Qormi F.C., and later on as its President. In 1982, after serving as Vice-President, he was elected to the post of President of the Malta Football Association, which position he held for ten years. During his presidency, the local football association witnessed major changes at its administrative and technical level. Large infrastructural investments were made in the resurfacing of the turf pitch at the National Stadium Ta’ Qali, which became wholly managed for the first time by the football association; new training grounds with turf pitches were built; floodlights were installed both at the National Stadium and in the adjoining training areas; a physiotherapy clinic and a fully equipped gymnasium were also opened. Foreign full time coaches, assisted by top Maltese coaches, were engaged to take charge of the National teams and courses in coaching and refereeing were held under the auspices of the European and international football bodies. The players of the National team were engaged for the first time on a full-time professional basis and the international matches of the Maltese team started to attract the wide support of the Maltese sporting public once again. Football nurseries all over the island wee inaugurated. Dr. Abela represented the local Association in many committees of UEFA. He also sat as an arbitrator in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.
Furthermore, Dr. Abela was also involved in the Kerygma Movement where he acted for some years as Chairman for the Campaign – Solidarity Through Sports in Aid of Philantropic Institutions.
In 1992, after ten years in the top echelons of the Maltese football, Dr. Abela was elected as Deputy Leader of the Malta Labour Party in charge of Party Affairs. In 1996, the Malta labour party won the general election by its first ever greatest majority of votes. Subsequently, he was appointed as the legal consultant to the Prime Minister and invited to attend cabinet meetings.
Dr. George Abela served for a number of years as Director of the Central Bank of Malta and as Executive Director for the Bank of Valletta p.l.c. He was also a member of the Electoral Commission responsible for the running of the general elections in 1987. He actively participated in the Malta E.U. Steering and Action Committee (MEUSAC) in pre-accession negotiations for membership in the European Union, where he formed part of the core group focusing on the legal and social aspects of membership. After membership, he sat again on MEUSAC as the labour Party representative.
Dr. Abela is married to Margaret nee’ Cauchi and they have two children, Robert and Maria.