Enrico Mizzi

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Enrico Mizzi
Enrico Mizzi.JPG
Bust of Enrico Mizzi in St John's Square, Valletta, sculpted by Vincent Apap in 1964
6th Prime Minister of Malta
In office
26 September 1950 – 20 December 1950
MonarchGeorge VI
Governor-GeneralGerald Creasy
Preceded byPaul Boffa
Succeeded byGiorgio Borġ Olivier
Personal details
Born20 September 1885
Valletta, Malta
Died20 December 1950 (aged 65)
Political partyNationalist Party
Spouse(s)
Bice Vassallo
(m. 1926; died 1950)
[1]
Children1

Enrico "Nerik" Mizzi (20 September 1885 – 20 December 1950) was a Maltese politician, leader of the Maltese Nationalist Party and briefly Prime Minister of Malta.

Life[edit]

Mizzi was born on 20 September 1885 in Valletta, Malta. He was the son of Fortunato Mizzi and Maria Sofia Folliero de Luna. In 1906 he graduated in literature and science at the Royal University of Malta. He studied law at La Sapienza in Rome and at the university of Urbino, where in 1911 he received a Laurea in law. In 1926 he married Bice Vassallo; they had one son, Fortunato Mizzi.[1]

Politics[edit]

Despite completing his legal studies in Rome, Mizzi had little chance to practice law. He was drawn instead to politics and journalism. He stood as a parliamentary candidate for Gozo in 1915, and was successfully elected. He worked tirelessly to develop a Constitution that was independent of English rule at the time.

In 1916 he was arrested and sentenced to a year in prison for proclaiming himself a representative of the Italian nationality of Malta - his sentence was reduced to a reprimand by the Governor of the time due to suspected interference. In May 1917 he was arrested and court-martialled for sedition during wartime, found guilty of all charges and imprisoned for a year. Although this sentence was again reduced, he lost his right to practice law in the country.[2]

Founding of the Partit Nazzjonalista[edit]

In 1921 Mizzi set up the Partito Democratico Nazionale, which elected 4 parliamentary candidates in Gozo that same year. After the elections of 1924, Mizzi's party formed a government in coaltion with the Unione Politica Maltese. In 1926 these two parties joined to form the Partito Nazzjonalista, which Mizzi went on to lead in 1942.

During his time in government, Mizzi held a variety of portfolios as minister. These included Industry and Commerce; Agriculture and Fisheries; the Postal Service; and Education.[3]

Mizzi was known as the knight without stain or fear. He remained well known for patriotism and nationalism at a time when Malta was under British rule. He was also associated with the Italianate identity of the Maltese people, the cause for selecting Italian as an official language of the country, and a strong proponent of the Roman Catholic faith (in opposition to Britain's protestant faith).

Deportation to Uganda[edit]

On 30 May 1940, while Mizzi was at the Malta Printing Press, he was arrested and imprisoned. In February 1942, Governor Dobbie took out a warrant to deport 47 Maltese to the Uganda, Mizzi amongst them. During his exile, Mizzi did all he could to remain up to date on proceedings in Malta. He remained in close contact with other members of the Partit Nazzjonalista, such as Gorg Borg Olivier and Giuseppe Schembri.[4]

Reform of the Partit Nazzjonalista[edit]

The group of exiles were allowed back into the country on 8 March 1945. Mizzi quickly re-entered politics, and attended the Council Sitting on 15 March. Mizzi planned to reorganise the PN from the ground up. The ideology of the Party, and its support of Italian culture and language formed the basalt of this, and was frequently used against him by his political enemies. The newspapers owned by Gerald Strickland frequently called him a traitor and a sympathiser of Italian Fascism. [5]

Prime Minister of Malta[edit]

After the 1950 elections Mizzi was appointed Prime Minister in a hung parliament. He died in Valletta three months later and had a state funeral.[1] To date, he is the only Maltese prime minister to have died in office.[citation needed]

Legacy[edit]

Mizzi is remembered by the Maltese as a contributing force in the Maltese national and European identity.[citation needed]

"I hope that when I pass from this life to become a memory to posterity I hope no one will slander me... for party reasons.... As I had been declared by the Nationalist Party some thirty years ago, I am still, thank God, before the Party, before the people, and above all else before my own conscience 'senza macchia e senza paura'.”

— Enrico Mizzi[6]

A foundation, to promote and better appreciate his life and works and that of his father Fortunato, was founded in 2010.[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Dr Enrico Mizzi (1950–1950)". Prime Ministers of Malta. Government of Malta. Retrieved 29 January 2014.
  2. ^ Rudolf, Uwe Jens (2018). Historical dictionary of Malta (Third ed.). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. ISBN 9781538119174.
  3. ^ [gov.mt/en/Government/Government%20of%20Malta/Prime%20Ministers%20of%20Malta/Pages/Dr-Enrico-Mizzi.aspx "Dr Enrico Mizzi (1950 - 1950)"] Check |url= value (help). gov.mt.
  4. ^ "Exile of 43 Maltese 60 years ago : One of the most shameful episodes of Malta's history - minister". www.maltamigration.com.
  5. ^ (PDF) https://www.um.edu.mt/library/oar/bitstream/123456789/28601/1/The_Nationalist_Struggle_against_Strickland%27s_Administration%2C_1899-1902_1991.pdf. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Legislative Assembly Debates, Sitting No 8, 17 March 1949, p.397.
  7. ^ "Fortunato and Enrico Mizzi Foundation formed". Times of Malta.
Political offices
Preceded by
Paul Boffa
Prime Minister of Malta
1950
Succeeded by
George Borg Olivier