Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi had lamented with then US Ambassador Molly
Bordonaro before the last election that the elected Nationalist Party MPs offered a limited talent pool from which to select ministers that were matched well with their competencies and are able to form an efficient working government, a leaked US embassy cable shows.

The PM wished it was possible to draw ministers from business or academia, something that is not possible in Malta.

The cable, issued by Wikileaks, features the US embassy's assessment of the top ministers following the 2008 general elections.

It welcomed the appointment of Tonio Borg as Foreign Minister, saying he had a 'fondness for the United States.'

Tonio Fenech's promotion to Minister of Finance, Economy and Investment was
also 'very welcome news.'

"Fenech is seen as a rising star in the Nationalist Party, perhaps even a future Prime Minister," the ambassador said.

Minister for Justice and Home Affairs (MJHA) Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici was said to be 'more of an unknown'.

"The embassy's infrequent contacts with him at MJHA (Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs) left the impression that he was not especially competent or engaged and unaware of most issues on which the Embassy worked with MJHA, though that may have been partially a function of the job he was in."

'ABRASIVE, REFRESHING, AUSTIN GATT'

On Austin Gatt, the Ambassador wrote: " Gatt is sharp and ambitious, a
minister we can do business with (despite an abrasive streak that rankles with some European ambassadors, we find his frankness and straightforwardness refreshing.)"

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