The Prime Minister never discussed or made any offer to George Vella to assume the president’s role, the Foreign Minister has revealed in an interview with Times of Malta.
However, Dr Vella said he had never harboured any ambition to occupy the country’s highest office and feels very satisfied with his ministerial job.
Despite being touted by many, particularly among the Labour rank and file, as Joseph Muscat’s natural choice to succeed George Abela, many were surprised when The Sunday Times of Malta broke the news that Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca was to become the next president.
With a long career in the party and considered to be one of Dr Muscat’s mentors, Dr Vella, who turns 72 in April and who has declared he will not run for political office again, was seen as an obvious choice.
I believe that whoever has these ambitions most often ends up disappointed
Labour officials openly stated that giving him the presidency was a way of ending his political career on a high note, as well as recognising the former deputy leader’s open support for Dr Muscat in the 2008 Labour leadership contest.
Asked for his reaction to the news that his Cabinet colleague Ms Coleiro Preca would take up the post, Dr Vella said he never wished to become president.
“Although many at first didn’t understand the move of the Prime Minister, it’s a very wise decision when you reflect on it,” he said.
Congratulating the president-designate, he said he was sure Ms Coleiro Preca would do a good job and would provide an even more popular dimension to the presidency than Dr Abela had.
Asked whether he had been expecting to be nominated, Dr Vella said he was not.
Although his name was being mentioned by the media and by individuals, he said an offer to move to San Anton was never made to him.
“The Prime Minister never brought up the subject with me and I never brought it up with him. I never expected anything as what I am doing is very satisfying and I’m very happy where I am,” he said.
“I never had any such ambitions as I believe that whoever has these ambitions, most often ends up disappointed.”
Asked whether he would have accepted the post if it had been offered, Dr Vella diplomatically avoided a direct answer.
“This is hypothetical and I don’t answer these questions.”
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