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Watch: Bartolo downplays talk of presidential post

"It's all speculation," minister says

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo has downplayed as “mere speculation” reports that he is being touted as the next President of Malta.

“Every time the election of a new President approaches, there is always a lot of speculation and several names come up... like we’re playing tombola,” he said.

“We then end up with a situation where the people who are mentioned do not get nominated and those who are not mentioned for the post become the country’s President.”

According to the Nationalist Party's media, Mr Bartolo will be "kicked upstairs" when Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca ends her five-term presidency in April.

Originally, Mr Bartolo was reportedly among three candidates for the office, together with former deputy prime minister Louis Grech and former foreign minister George Vella.

Among three candidates for the seat

Mr Bartolo would replace Ms Coleiro Preca, who was sworn in as President in April of 2014, with Labour MP Robert Abela poised to take his place in Cabinet, the PN media said.

Mr Bartolo told the Times of Malta his advice was to wait for the facts: “There is a process about when and how announcements are made. Everything else is mere speculation and empty talk.”

Read: President Coleiro Preca is 'seeking a second term'

His duty was to concentrate on the education and employment sectors, he added.

Asked whether he would accept the role if offered, Mr Bartolo replied: “One would let the facts happen and then see what to do in those circumstances.

“However, this is all hypothetical and speculation.”

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