Louis Galea brought PN's language 'closer to the working class'

Former Education Minister Louis Galea

Former Education Minister Louis Galea

Former Education Minister Louis Galea will be making the most of his musical talents by taking piano lessons as from next week.

Expressing an "extremely calm and serene" state of mind and not the least bit of hurt at not having been re-elected as a member of Parliament, Dr Galea said he had already contacted a piano teacher, admitting he is out of practice.

"This is my new beginning," he said.

Although naturally disappointed when it became clear he won't get a seat in Parliament, Dr Galea understands that the changes in the electoral districts could have played a role in the result.

Moreover, the 60-year-old lawyer admitted to having made a conscious decision to continue working until the end of the legislature on national issues, leaving him with "too little time and energy" for a personal campaign.

Former University rector Fr Peter Serracino Inglott believes Dr Galea's commitment to education did not leave him with enough time for his constituency. It seemed, he said, as if heading the Education Ministry did not bring about much popularity: Michael Falzon was not re-elected in 1996 after two years as Education Minister.

Media analyst Fr Joe Borg said he was "shocked" that Dr Galea was not re-elected, especially when one considers that education was a subject in which the Nationalist Party was leading at the polls.

The explanation why the minister was not elected could only lie at district level and whether he was working within his constituency as much as he was on a national level, Fr Borg added.

Never has there been a general election, Dr Galea noted, when education was discussed so much. This not only had an impact on the electoral result but will have a long-term effect because it was assured a dominant spot on the national agenda.

Dr Galea is known as the person who built the Nationalist Party as people know it today when he was general secretary between 1977 and 1987.

"I personally think I made a major contribution for the PN to acquire a political language that made it more popular and closer to the working class and a party that looked at social issues from a progressive lens." This, he added, would not have been possible without the help of many people.

When it comes to national issues, Dr Galea said he was grateful to have introduced reforms in the health, social and education sectors.

Having worked with Dr Galea, Fr Borg described him as one who believed in the autonomy of boards and never tried to interfere. "He always struck me as a person with a vision, who never tired of coming up with new things to do."

Prof. Serracino Inglott, who has known Dr Galea from his student days, having lectured him in philosophy at University, described him as one of his best students.

The fact that Dr Galea's father was a nurse made him familiar with people who were sick and those who were suffering. Prof. Serracino Inglott said that when Dr Galea took over the Social Development Ministry he recognised that social services needed to be personalised and so created a number of foundations to administer them. "He changed the way the welfare state works; this was a big achievement."

The general secretary of the Malta Union of Teachers, Franklin Barbara said Dr Galea was a hard-working person who was always well prepared and up to date with what was happening.

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