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Updated: Tonio Fenech to contest PN deputy leader election

Beppe Fenech Adami will not be contesting

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

 Finance Minister Tonio Fenech yesterday confirmed his intention to contest the election for the post of Nationalist Party deputy leader.

Mr Fenech, 43, said he had decided to put his name into the hat because he felt he could contribute to the party's future, while continuing to build on its past achievements.

"It wasn't an easy decision, and was taken after the heartening news that the European Commission had decided to lift the sanctions threat over the deficit," he told The Times when contacted last night.

"This news confirmed that the country is on the right track and it will allow me to concentrate on both the Budget and the campaign. My first priority is obviously the Budget."

He said politics was a service and he was prepared to walk with the party in the challenges that lay ahead, the main one being the general election.

Mr Fenech said he was ready to serve the party as he had done for the past years.

So far, he will be running against Euro Parliamentarian Simon Busuttil. The post was vacated by Foreign Minister Tonio Borg, who was nominated to replace former European Commissioner John Dalli following his shock resignation last month.

Mr Fenech first came to political prominence in March 1996 when he was elected to the Birkirkara council.

Following the 1998 general election, he was elected mayor of the largest town in Malta and held the post until 2003 when he was elected to Parliament.

He was an observer to the European Parliament between May 2003 and March 2004 until Malta joined the European Union.

Under the premiership of Lawrence Gonzi, Mr Fenech was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in the Finance Ministry and followed through Malta's adoption of the euro single currency in 2008.

Since 2008, he has held the post of Finance Minister. On a party level, Mr Fenech has been part of the executive since 1999.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Mario de Marco, cited as a potential front-runner, yesterday would not declare whether he was going to contest the post.

He said he felt there was already one valid person in the contest with the possibility of other valid people joining the race.

Justice Minister Chris Said and Parliamentary Secretary Beppe Fenech Adami have also been named as potential candidates.

Nominations close on Wednesday. The first round of the election is scheduled to take place on November 29.

BEPPE FENECH ADAMI WILL NOT CONTEST

Beppe Fenech Adami said today he has decided not to run for the election of deputy leader as he wants to concentrate all his efforts on the eighth electoral district.

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