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Gonzi ‘to quit politics’

Nationalist stalwart plans to spend more time with family

Former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi is expected to leave local politics in the coming weeks, Times of Malta has learnt.

Sources close to Dr Gonzi yesterday confirmed he has taken the decision to vacate his parliamentary seat to dedicate more time to his family and ease the way for the new PN leadership.

It’s just a matter of weeks or even days

He officially stepped down as PN leader on Wednesday following the election of Simon Busuttil as the seventh leader in the PN’s history. Dr Busuttil is expected to be officially sworn in as Leader of the Opposition on Monday.

Until now, Dr Gonzi is still serving as an MP representing the constituents of the seventh district.

“It is almost a foregone conclusion that Dr Gonzi will not be holding on to his parliamentary seat for much longer.

“It’s just a matter of weeks or even days now,” a close aide of Dr Gonzi told Times of Malta.

Dr Gonzi – who will turn 60 in July – has served in Parliament for the past 25 years. Elected in 1996, he served eight years as the chamber’s Speaker.

A lawyer by profession, Dr Gonzi also occupied the top echelons of Maltese politics including the post of PN general secretary, minister and deputy prime minister until he succeeded Eddie Fenech Adami as PN leader and Prime Minister in April 2004.

He occupied Malta’s top political position for nine years and was Prime Minister when the island officially became a member of the EU in May 2004.

His resignation from Parliament will open a new vacancy on the seventh district where a by-election will have to be held.

The two favourite candidates for his seat are former MPs Peter Micallef and Tony Abela.

Efforts to contact Dr Gonzi proved futile.

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