Gonzi sworn in as celebrations continue

Lawrence Gonzi has been sworn in as Prime Minister by President Eddie Fenech Adami in the Palace, bringing to a close a five week process which started in the same building where Dr Gonzi advised the President to dissolve Parliament and call the general election.

The short ceremony took place as a crowd of Nationalist Party supporters waited quietly outside, waving Maltese, EU and PN flags. The fact that the ceremony was delayed to today meant that the crowd was smaller than is usually the case, with many having returned to work after the "election weekend".

The oath of office read: “I, Lawrence Gonzi, solemnly swear that I will faithfully and conscientiously perform my duties as Prime Minister in accordance with the Constitution and the laws of Malta, without fear or favour, So help me God.”

Dr Gonzi then read the oath of allegiance: "I Lawrence Gonzi, solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the people and the Republic of Malta and its Constitution. So help me God."

Dr Gonzi said this was a solemn moment in the democratic life of the country and one which imposed a great burden on him as prime minister. He called on the people to unite to build on their achievements, for their common good. He said he wished to thank all the people for what the country had achieved. "We as a people have a lot to be proud of. We can argue among ourselves, that is important for democracy, but now that that is past let us now unite to bring out the best of this nation and grab the new opportunities which face the country, for the common good," Dr Gonzi said.

He promised to use "every drop of my energy" for the benefit of the people.

Dr Fenech Adami congratulated Dr Gonzi and said the election proved the vitality of the democratic process. The election, he said, showed that Malta had a strong democratic system and a mature people who had exercised their freedom to choose.

Dr Fenech Adami said he was sure Dr Gonzi would be the prime minister of all the Maltese.

The President and Dr Gonzi then moved to the balcony, where the crowd, now under umbrellas, exploded into a cacophony of horns, cheering and singing.

This is Dr Gonzi’s second successive government. He was sworn in as Dr Fenech Adami’s successor as Prime Minister just over four years ago, and today’s swearing-in was therefore of particular importance to Dr Gonzi because this was the first time that he had led the Nationalist Party to victory.

The Cabinet is expected to be announced today before Dr Gonzi leaves for an EU summit in Brussels.

In terms of the Constitution, Parliament has to meet within two months.

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