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New Cabinet announced, PN reacts as Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri are retained

New MPs made parliamentary secretaries, Anton Refalo out

Video: Matthew Mirabelli

Updated 8.40pm - Konrad Mizzi was handed responsibility for tourism and the future of Air Malta in the new Labour Cabinet, announced by the Prime Minister this afternoon. Keith Schembri will keep his place as Chief of Staff.  

Ian Borg, promoted to minister, has been handed the biggest ministry, responsible for transport, the rebuilding of the roads, lands, planning and other capital projects. He will be assisted by Parliamentary Secretary Chris Agius.

Carmelo Abela, former Minister of the Interior, is the new Foreign Minister while Helena Dalli is Minister for European Affairs but retains responsibility for equality issues. 

Michael Farrugia, formerly responsible for social policy, is the new Home Affairs Minister.

Anton Refalo was left out, despite being by far the leading Labour candidate in Gozo. The position of Gozo Minister has been handed to Justyne Caruana, the former parliamentary secretary for the elderly. Dr Muscat said Dr Refalo was only interested in the Gozo Ministry and did not want anything else. 

While the number of ministers has gone down from 17 to 15 there is an increase in parliamentary secretaries.

Pariamentary Secretaries Antony Agius Decelis (Care of the elderly) Deo Debattista (V 18) and Silveo Schembri (Financial Services)Pariamentary Secretaries Antony Agius Decelis (Care of the elderly) Deo Debattista (V 18) and Silveo Schembri (Financial Services)

New Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri will be responsible for financial services and digital economy within the Office of the Prime Minister.  Another new Parliamentary Secretary in the OPM will be Julia Farrugia, responsible for civil rights reforms and citizenship. 

Chris Cardona has retained responsibility for the economy and small business, Evarist Bartolo remains Minister for Education and Employment. He will be assisted by Parliamentary Secretary Clifton Grima responsible for youth affairs and sports.

The new Minister for Energy and Water is Joe Mizzi, formerly minister of transport.

Aaron Farrugia is new parliamentary secretary for European funds and social dialogue.

Parliamentary Secretaries Aaron Farrugia (European funds) and Julia Farrugia (Civil rights reforms)Parliamentary Secretaries Aaron Farrugia (European funds) and Julia Farrugia (Civil rights reforms)

Edward Scicluna will retain the finance ministry.   

Owen Bonnici will retain the Justice and Culture Ministry. He will be assisted by Silvio Parnis, parliamentary secretary for local councils and Deo Debattista, parliamentary secretary for V18.

Jose Herrera will remain Minister for the Environment, assisted by Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri, a keen hunter, responsible for animal welfare and agriculture.

Health will remain the responsibility of Chris Fearne.  

Michael Falzon returns to Cabinet as Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity. He will be assisted by Parliamentary Secretary Roderick Galdes (responsible for housing) and Parliamentary Secretary Tony Agius Decelis (responsible for the elderly and people with disabilities).

Parliamentary Secretaries Clifton Grima (Youth and sport) and Clint Camilleri (Animal welfare) and whip Byron Camilleri.Parliamentary Secretaries Clifton Grima (Youth and sport) and Clint Camilleri (Animal welfare) and whip Byron Camilleri.

Byron Camilleri was appointed whip and Robert Abela, legal counsel to the Prime Minister. Dr Abela has asked not to be paid for his work.

Dr Muscat said the Labour Party will decide on Saturday which districts candidates elected from two districts should cede.

The Prime Minister said he will be having a discussion with the President on the address at the opening of parliament.  Taking note of past criticism, he said the purpose would be to ensure that the address was not too political.

Keith Schembri will stay on as Chief of Staff.Keith Schembri will stay on as Chief of Staff.

He said the Labour Party will decide on when to have an election for a new deputy leader for parliamentary affairs to replace Louis Grech next Saturday. The person chosen will also be deputy prime minister.

When asked why he had given Dr Mizzi a ministry, seeing that he was such a divisive character involved in the Panama Papers, Dr Muscat replied that the electorate's choice should also be respected. His appointment, Dr Muscat said, was motivated by his competence. Like he resolved the Enemalta problem, he would also conclude the Air Malta reforms.

The Prime Minister said Keith Schembri will remain chief of staff and will resign if there is a formal criminal investigation in the wake of the current magisterial inquiries. 

Dr Muscat said he had demanded high standards from the new members of the Cabinet.   

The new Cabinet will be sworn in tomorrow afternoon.

PN Reaction - Mizzi and Schembri running the show

In a reaction, the Nationalist Party said the retention of Konrad Mizzi in the Cabinet and Keith Schembri as chief of staff showed how they were running the show and not Joseph Muscat.

Their retention showed that Dr Muscat had not learnt anything from the election and was still taking divisive decisions. 

Dr Muscat had lost the chance for a new beginning.  

The PN also regretted that the prime minister had not heeded criticism and had increased the number of ministers and parliamentary secretaries (collectively) imposing a bigger burden on taxpayers. 

The Labour Party retorted that the PN was going on like a broken record. It had carried on with the sort of negativity which caused it the biggest electoral defeat ever. 

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