Prime minister hopeful Robert Abela has said his wife will not be tendering for any public sector work if he is elected to lead the government, just days after he said the opposite on camera.

Speaking on TVM’s Xtra, Dr Abela said on Thursday that he had been misinterpreted when he first said that. 

As a prime minister he would push for higher ethical standards and his wife Lydia will not be bidding for any work in the public sector, he said.

Just a day before, he had told MaltaToday that while he would withdraw from the family law firm, his wife should not be denied the opportunity to bid in government tenders. 

"My company will have the right to participate [in public calls for tenders], no more and no less than any other company," he had said. The same went for his wife, who is also a lawyer at the firm. 

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On Thursday evening, Dr Abela changed tack. 

"My wife will not be doing any government work and she will cut herself off from all government work. Maybe I was misinterpreted. Good governance and ethics demand that," he said. 

Dr Abela's firm has reportedly received work from the Planning Authority, Air Malta and Transport Malta in the past years.

In 2018, the Times of Malta reported Dr Abela saying there was no conflict of interest in acting as legal representative of Air Malta while his father, President Emeritus George Abela, was acting as mediator and chief negotiator in talks with pilots.

According to information submitted in Parliament, between 2013 and 2017, the Abelas’ firm pocketed half a million euro from the Planning Authority and Transport Malta. 

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