Newly-appointed President Dr. Eddie Fenech Adami said he accepted the presidency only after he was pressured by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, causing him to pass sleepless nights.|
Speaking to The Times after his swearing-in last Sunday, Dr. Fenech Adami said that after his nomination had been approved by the Cabinet he approached Dr. Gonzi and told him to find someone else.
The new president revealed that his wife Mary was against his nomination and refused to go to live at San Anton Palace, the official residence of the President of Malta.
“It just so happened that my retirement coincided with the time when a decision had to be taken with regard to the Presidency. I made it clear to the Prime Minister that I was not after the Presidency. My advice was, if possible, to get some form of broad agreement, if not full consensus, about the person to be nominated President. Till the very last day I was saying "you can change your mind even though the Cabinet has decided that I should be appointed President". I told him that my preference was not to be appointed. I was very adamant on that. I myself, my family, particularly my wife, were all very adamant that I should retire and retire by not taking up any public appointment. However, it became clear, and there was a lot of pressure on me, that I should not decline if I were to be selected by the Cabinet first and then elected by parliament later,” Dr. Fenech Adami told the newspaper.
“But at the end of the day, the analysis I conducted with myself was always based on this principle: In these circumstances, should I say yes or no? Not for the sake of my own interests but in the interests of the country and if I could be of service and value to it,” he said.
Dr. Fenech Adami said he is in favour of changing the method of election of the President. “Today the method of selection is a democratic one that exists in many countries, so you cannot go against the concept. But in a lot of other countries the electoral college is wider than just the legislative assembly. Now we have local councils, I believe they should have a say in this too,” he said.
The Opposition Malta Labour Party slammed the choice of Dr. Fenech Adami as President as bringing more division rather bringing the nation together as the office of the President should. Alternattiva Demokratika also expressed itself against his appointment.
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