As Robert Abela enjoyed his first full day as prime minister, he also entered into a category of those whose family members have held positions of power, sometimes even at the same time.
Dr Abela’s father George was President of Malta between April 2009 and April 2014 and just like his son, has a direct political connection to outgoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat – albeit with different results.
On June 6, 2008, Dr Abela and Dr Muscat went head-to-head in a Labour leadership runoff.
Abela placed second on that occasion with 291 of the delegates’ votes – just over a third – while Muscat collected 574.
The Mifsud Bonnici political dynasty started nearly a century ago
As President of the Republic, George Abela was preceded by Eddie Fenech Adami, who held office between 2004 to 2009. And just like the Abelas, the Fenech Adami family has had more than one person follow a career in politics: Eddie’s son Beppe Fenech Adami is an MP for the Nationalist Party.
Another two serving Nationalist MPs, Mario de Marco and Carm Mifsud Bonnici, know what it is like to be the son of a president. Mario de Marco’s father, Guido de Marco, served as minister and MP for several years before serving as head of state between 1999 and 2004, while Carm’s father Ugo held the presidency from 1994 until 1999.
The Mifsud Bonnici political dynasty started nearly a century ago, when Carm’s grandfather, Carmelo ‘Il-Gross’ Mifsud Bonnici, joined the PDN in 1922 and became a member of the Legislative Assembly the following year. He later became the first general secretary of the Nationalist Party. Born in 1897, he was present when British soldiers shot four demonstrators in Valletta in June 1919.
Anton Buttigieg, who was Malta’s second president between 1976 and 1981, also had a son in politics: John served as a Labour MP and had the rare honour of serving in parliament for two terms at the same time as his father Anton was also an MP.
They were elected from the same district.