Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici
Former Prime Minister of Malta
Maltese Labour Party
(b. 17 July 1933) is a former Labour Prime Minister of Malta. He studied law at the University of Malta and is known to be an expert in industrial relations law.
Mifsud Bonnici hails from a family which staunchly supports the Partit Nazzjonalista. His brother Antoine is a Nationalist MP and erstwhile Parliamentary Secretary while his cousin Ugo was a Nationalist MP, Minister and President of the Republic. In the 1960s, at the height of the dispute between the Maltese Church and the Malta Labour Party Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici was an official of a number of lay organisations connected to the Church and supported the "diocesan junta" of Church organisations opposing Dom Mintoff and his Party.
In fact, Mifsud Bonnici was later to claim that he was "a Nationalist by birth, but a Labourite through free choice and conviction": in 1980 he was appointed Deputy Leader of the Malta Labour Party and in 1982 he was appointed Designate Leader, co-opted into Parliament and assigned the Ministry of Employment and Social Services. Later he was assigned the Ministry of Education, a responsibility he held until 1986. In 1984 he was sworn in as Prime Minister, thus becoming the first Maltese Prime Minister since independence to be sworn in without actually standing for General Election.
Mifsud Bonnici's tenure as Prime Minister was seen as a continuation of the Mintoff years (he even retained the same Cabinet). Political violence persisted, hightened and made more intense by the fact that the elections of 1987 were approaching. Relations with the Church deteriorated further on two fronts: the enactment of a Bill to devolve Church property without compensation and attempts by the Government to control and take over Church schools. Things climaxed in 1984 when a demonstration by the workers of the Malta Drydocks at which Mifsud Bonnici was present ransacked the offices of the Maltese Curia. Mifsud Bonnici simply thanked the workers, calling them "the aristocracy of the working class".
Mifsud Bonnici narrowly lost the 1987 elections serving as Leader of the Opposition until 1992 when, following a second defeat, he resigned. He has not contested any general elections since. In 2003 during the referendum campaign for the entry of the island into the European Union, he formed the CNI (Campaign for National Independence), and since then has opposed entry into the European Union and the ratification of the European Constitution. His motion to oppose the EU Constitution was rejected by the Malta Labour Party delegates in 2005.
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