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Emotional Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca takes oath as Malta's ninth President

An emotional Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca this evening took the oath of office as President of Malta.

She is Malta's ninth President and the second female President.

In her first address which lasted almost 20 minutes, President Coleiro-Preca emphasised unity, diversity and inclusiveness.

She said she wanted to be a catalyst for unity and urged society and parents to give a stronger voice and listen to the aspirations of children and young people.

Her presidency, she said, would be characterised by commitment to work for inclusiveness, tolerance and diversity.

She promised to remain the person she always was - able to listen and talk to anybody.

"This will be a presidency that inspires goodwill and encourages solidarity," she said.

Her address in full can be read in the pdf link below.

President Coleiro-Preca said she would scrupulously ensure political impartiality.

On immigration, she said the country had to shoulder its humanitarian obligations but acknowledged the country's size created problems to give these people the best and called on the international community to help Malta.

"My work will be an expression of the great love i have for this country and its people," she said.

The ceremony started with Mass at the Dar tal-Providenza in Siggiewi.

Earlier, she was greeted by well-wishers in Luqa and later she was given a hero's welcome in Qormi, where hundreds of people gathered in the town she loved and grew up in to greet the President-elect.

They greeted her waving Maltese flags as Church bells sounded.

She shed tears as she hugged, shook hands with and kissed well-wishers close to where she used to live before she moved to Balzan with her husband, Edgar Preca.

In his homily, Mgr Cremona said that the Mass was held at the Dar tal-Providenza on the request of Ms Coleiro Preca who wanted the event to be a celebration of love towards the poor.

He said there were different forms of poverty, including drug and alcohol addiction and children who carried the burden of their parents' problems.

He thanked outgoing President George Abela for the service he gave the country and urged people to pray for the new President who, he said, had a difficult task ahead of her but who was in a position to help people, especially the poor and vulnerable.

Ms Coleiro Preca, who was accompanied by Mr Preca and her daughter listened attentively, and even nodded.

At the end of Mass, Mgr Cremona blessed two Maltese flags, one for Malta and one for Gozo, and handed them to the President-elect.

The one for Malta will be raised at the Palace later today.

Mgr Cremona was assisted by 29 priests including Apostolic Nuncio Aldo Cavalli, Gozo Bishop Mario Grech, Auxiliary Bishop Charles Scicluna and Archbishop-Emeritus Joseph Mercieca.

The bidding prayers were read by children and Ms Coleiro Preca smiled affectionately as she heard them read.

Prior to Mass, the President-elect and Mr Preca greeted well-wishers at the main square in Luqa. Before heading to her home town Qormi, she also stopped to greet well-wishers in Siggiewi.

Before taking her oath at a special sitting of the House of Representatives in the Grand Council Chamber at the Palace in Valletta, Mrs and Mr Preca proceeded on foot from Palazzo Ferreria through Republic Street to the Palace.

Sufarelli were let off from the Labour Party Club in Valletta as she arrived in front of the club in Republic Street.

Speaker Anglu Farrugia greeted the President-elect and her husband at the Palace entrance just before outgoing President George Abela and Mrs Abela arrived in St George’s Square.

Brigadier Jeffrey Curmi, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and President George Abela were each accorded a national salute in St George's Square. After his salue, President Abela inspected a guard of honour. He then departed from protocol and shook hands with the people gathered in St George's Square. Some shouted grazzi (thank you).

As the President and Mrs Abela entered the Palace, the House of Representatives was called to order in the Grand Council Chamber. The sitting was suspended for the Speaker to greet the President and escort him and Mrs Abela to the Pages Room. The three were then escorted to the Grand Council Chamber.

During the sitting, President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca took the oath of office as President of Malta. The AFM fired a 21-gun salute from Fort St Elmo before the sitting was adjourned.

President Coleiro-Preca delivered her speech, after which, together with Mr Preca, President Emeritus George Abela and Mrs Abela, she proceeded to the main balcony of The Palace accompanied by the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the chairman of Alternattiva Demokratika.

Later, the President and Mr Preca met the guests in The Palace courtyard, who included many elderly and disabled.

Before leaving the Palace, the President was accorded a National Salute and inspected her first Guard of Honour.

From the Palace, President and Mr Preca were escorted by Mounted Police to the War Memorial in Floriana for a wreath laying ceremony and then proceeded to their official residence, San Anton Palace in Attard.

There, they met their staff for the first time and the new President later has private meetings with the Prime Minister, the Opposition leader and the chairman of Alternattiva Demokratika.

Attached files

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