Updated - The Sun highlights Peter Andre's Valletta controversy - minority leader says decision was taken only by the mayor
Mayor reacts to criticism
Updated - Adds mayor's reaction to criticism by minority leader
Britain's top selling Sun newspaper reports today how how the appointment of singer Peter Andre as Valletta cultural capital has made the Maltese cross.
"Maltese cross at ‘culture ace’ Pete" it says, adding that Andre has no link to island.
The perma-tan pop statesman, 39, was unanimously voted by city councillors to promote the rich history and art of the world heritage site, it reports, but more than 1,000 furious locals have signed a petition to get the Mysterious Girl singer — who has no links to the Mediterranean island — sacked.
Their plea blasts: “Peter Andre should be the last person to carry such a prestigious and important title.
“Valletta shall only be handled with honour.”
Still reeling from the honorary citizenship given to Latin pop star Enrique Iglesias, in 2008, residents branded this celebrity title “100 times worse.”
Despite winning “Best International Male” at the Malta Music Awards last week, Andre made no mention of his appointment by mayor Alexiei Dingli earlier on the same day.
Mr Dingli said he wanted “a celebrity fond of Valletta” to help promote the 16th-century city abroad.
He added: “Valletta will feature prominently in his ITV show which has an average viewership of 1.7 million.
Apart from this, I can reveal Peter promised to come again this summer where we will be discussing potential future collaborations.”
DECISION WAS THE MAYOR'S - MINORITY LEADER
Meanwhile Ray Azzopardi, minority leader in Valletta local council wrote in a comment to timesofmalta.com that no vote was taken in the council for Peter Andre's appointment.
"The decision was taken by the mayor the week before, and he informed us about the decision, which he took on his own. There was never any discussion about it.
In a reaction to Mr Azzopardi's comments, Mr Dingli said that contrary to what Mr Azzopardi was stating, a unanimous decision was taken by the council during a meeting where he was present and the unanimous decision was minuted.
"Mr Azzopardi was so in favour of this decision that he proudly showcased his meeting with Peter Andre on his facebook page and in the side comments, he also wrote that he believes that this was good idea," Mr Dingli said.