Talks between the Government and the Opposition on the nomination of a new president have not yet started , PN leader Bernard Grech told Times of Malta.

Questioned on his way to parliament on Wednesday, the PN leader said the government had not proposed any names yet, nor had the Opposition.

“Discussions have not started. The prime minister has not reached out to me yet,” he said. “A few weeks are left [to find a new president].”  

Opposition leader Bernard Grech says no talks have been held on the nomination of a new president.

In view of recent constitutional changes, Malta's next president will need to be appointed by a majority of at least two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives.

All previous presidents only needed to be nominated by simple majority after being proposed by the government. This will be the first time that both sides of the House have to agree on a name.

President George Vella's five-year term ends on April 1 and cannot be renewed. The government, can, however, nominate an acting president until agreement is reached on a successor.

"My hope is that serious and mature talks between two leaders who want the best for the country would yield a choice that can unite the country,"  Grech said. 

In replies to questions sent just before Christmas, the Office of the Prime Minister had promised talks on the new president “will be held in the coming weeks”.

“Government, as has happened when proposing nominees for the role of Ombudsman and the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life, will put forward the names of candidates fit for the role of Head of State, and will act throughout in the national interest,” an OPM spokesperson had said. 

PN will not reveal names

On Wednesday Grech was also asked whether the PN's nominations would include the three people previously mentioned in the media. 

Grech said it could be anyone and the PN would not be revealing names. The important thing was that the selected person was suitable for the Office and could be a president for all the people.  

In September Times of Malta reported that the Nationalist Party was considering nominating Magistrate Joe Mifsud, former PN minister Dolores Cristina and Caritas PR officer Marica Cassar.

At the time it also appeared the three names did not enjoy unanimous support among PN MPs.

Asked at the time whether the government was willing to support any of those names, the OPM said “these were reportedly proposed by the Nationalist Party leader to his parliamentary group, but did not even find the support of the PN group”. 

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