Malta; government collapses after budget vote defeat

Gonzi calls for new elections March 9

11 December, 11:42

A view of Malta A view of Malta

(ANSAmed) - VALLETTA - Malta's government collapsed Monday night after failing to win a parliamentary majority for a 2013 budget plan.

Premier Lawrence Gonzi's centre-left party Nationalist Party has been in power since 2004. The country will go to the polls 9 March 2013, Gonzi told journalists. Gonzi is set to meet Wednesday with George Abela, President of the Republic to dissolve parliament and kickstart the electoral process. In power since 2004 Premier Lawrence Gonzi's centre-left party was defeated when Franco De Bono withdrew his support for budget plans, as a consequence supporting the opposition. Bono was "well aware that his vote would bring down the government," he said.

Mr Gonzi replaced Edward Fenech Adami as Prime Minister in 2004 shortly before Malta entered the European Union (EU). In 2008 it entered the Eurozone. In 2009 the Nationalist Party won a slim one-seat majority - enough for De Bono to topple the government last night. Opposition Labour leader Joseph Muscat stressed that his MPs must now be consulted by the outgoing government "before making an agreement" in the EU. (ANSAmed).

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