Alfred Sant

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The Honourable
Alfred Sant MEP
KUOM
11th Prime Minister of Malta
In office
28 October 1996 – 6 September 1998
President Ugo Mifsud Bonnici
Preceded by Eddie Fenech Adami
Succeeded by Eddie Fenech Adami
Member of the European Parliament
Incumbent
Assumed office
2 July 2014
Personal details
Born (1948-02-28) 28 February 1948 (age 66)
Pietà, Malta
Political party Labour
Residence Birkirkara, Malta
Religion Roman Catholic

Alfred Sant (born 28 February 1948) is a Maltese politician. He led the Labour Party from 1992 to 2008 and served as Prime Minister of Malta between 1996 and 1998 and as Leader of the Opposition from 1992 to 1996 and from 1998 to 2008.

Education[edit]

Sant graduated from the University of Malta as Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics in 1967 and as Master of Science in Physics in the following year. He studied public administration in 1970 at Institut International d'Administration Publique at the École Nationale d'Administration (ENA) in Paris and completed Master of Business Management (with honors) from Boston University Graduate School of Management (specialising in international business and business policy) and a Doctor of Business Administration from Harvard University.

Career[edit]

Sant served as Second, and then First Secretary at the Malta Mission to the European Communities in Brussels between 1970 and 1975 when he resigned to undertake full-time studies in the USA. Between 1977 and 1978 on his return to Malta Sant served as advisor on general and financial management at the Ministry of Parastatal and People's Industries and between 1978 and 1980 he served as the Managing Director of Medina Consulting Group. Sant returned to the public sector in 1980 as Executive Deputy Chairman with the Malta Development Corporation.

Politics[edit]

Sant's first political post with the Labour Party was as chairman of its Department of Information (1982–92). During this time he also served as President of the Party (1984–88). He served a stint as the editor of the Party weekly Il-Ħelsien (1987–88). Sant first stood for election in 1987; although he was unsuccessful, he was co-opted to Parliament later that year. In 1992, following the resignation of Carmelo Bonnici, he was elected as Party leader.

22-month government (1996-98)[edit]

The Labour Party (PL) won the October 1996 elections under Sant who successfully campaigned for the removal of the Value Added Tax (VAT) that had been introduced in 1995. A year after taking office the PL under Sant replaced VAT by a similar indirect tax, the Customs and Excise Tax (CET). Sant's tenure as Prime Minister lasted only 22 months. Enjoying only a one-seat majority the Government was vulnerable to threats from former Prime Minister and Labour leader Dom Mintoff. Things came to a head in the summer of 1998 when a row with Mintoff over a coastal concession to a private company resulted in Government being defeated the motion transferring the land. Sant felt that, in the circumstances, the government's parliamentary majority was compromised and asked the President to dissolve the House. In the subsequent elections held in September 1998 the Labour Party was defeated and returned into opposition.[citation needed]

2003 Referendum and election[edit]

Sant campaigned heavily against Malta's European Union membership. During the run-up to the March 2003 referendum, Sant was also critical of what he called a "sham referendum" insisting that a general election alone would settle the EU membership issue. He called on Labour supporters to either vote No, abstain or invalidate their vote. He himself abstained. The Yes side won the referendum by a 54% to 46% margin but Sant claimed to have won the referendum as the Yes vote was less than half of registered voters. In view of the lack of consensus on the interpretation of the result, Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami asked the President to dissolve Parliament and call fresh elections. These were held in April 2003 and the Labour Party was again defeated at the polls.[citation needed]

Sant tendered his resignation as party leader. He did, however, stand for election for Party leader again which was contested by two other candidates for the post, John Attard Montalto and Angelo Farrugia. Sant was re-elected party leader with 66% of votes cast by Labour Party delegates and returned to lead the Party.

2008 general election[edit]

The Labour Party, spearheaded by Sant, presented a new programme Pjan għal bidu ġdid (Plan for a new beginning) and called for Bżonn ta' Bidla (The need for a Change) after the 20 years (save for his brief stint from 1996 to 1998) of Nationalist government. The electoral-programme contained references to overhauls in the educational system (which proved to be extremely controversial), reduction of an electricity surcharge by half and tax holidays on overtime work.[citation needed]

Sant was defeated for the third consecutive time, this time by Lawrence Gonzi (Partit Nazzjonalista) in the 2008 general election. This election was lost by the PL on a slim margin of 1580 votes. Following the loss of the election, Sant resigned as leader of the Labour Party on 10 March 2008, and as Leader of the Opposition on 5 June 2008; he was succeeded as PL leader by Joseph Muscat and as Leader of the Opposition by Charles Mangion. Sant retained his Parliamentary seat.

2014 European Parliament election[edit]

Sant has announced that he will be standing as a Labour Party candidate in the 2014 European Parliament election. Even though some years back he tried to convince the nation that it was not in the country's interest to join the European Union. [1] Other announced candidates for the same election are current MEPs Marlene Mizzi and Joseph Cuschieri. Current MEPs no longer contesting are John Attard Montalto and Claudette Abela Baldacchino.

Sant was the candidate who got the most votes with 48,739 votes of the electorate.[2]

Literary works and journalism[edit]

Sant is an established novelist, short story writer and playwright. His published works include the collected plays:

  • Min Hu Evelyn Costa? (1979)
  • Fid-Dell tal-Katidral (1994)
  • Qabel Tiftaħ l-Inkjesta (1999)
short story collections:
  • Kwart ta' Mija (1995)
  • Pupu fil-Baħar (2009)
novels:
  • L-Ewwel Weraq tal-Bajtar (1968)
  • Bejgħ u Xiri (1981)
  • Silġ fuq Kemmuna (1982)
  • La Bidu, La Tmiem (2001)
  • L-Għalqa tal-Iskarjota (2009)
  • George Bush f'Malta (2013)
non-fiction works:
  • Collection of political essays, L-Impenn għall-Bidla (1986)
  • Chronicle (political), It-28 ta' April 1958 (1988)
  • Malta's European Challenge (1995)
  • Confessions of a European Maltese (2003 autobiography)
  • Is-Soċjaliżmu fi Żminijietna (2004)

Sant edited Tomorrow, a monthly English-language magazine (1982–1985), and of Society, a quarterly opinion magazine, apart from authoring numerous articles. Sant also contributed regularly to the General Workers' Union's Sunday Maltese-language newspaper It-Torċa until his Party's defeat at the polls in March 2008.[citation needed]

Honours[edit]

National Honours[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Eddie Fenech Adami
Prime Minister of Malta
1996–1998
Succeeded by
Eddie Fenech Adami
Party political offices
Preceded by
Carmelo Bonnici
Leader of the Labour Party
1992–2008
Succeeded by
Joseph Muscat