Fenech-Adami, Dr Edward

Edward (Eddie) Fenech-Adami, President of Malta, was born on 7 February 1934 in Birkirkara, Malta, as the son of a customs officer. He received his education at the Jesuits College and the University of Malta, where he first studied economics and the classics and later law. He became a member of the bar in 1959. Between 1962 and 1969 he was the editor of the weekly newspaper Il-Poplu. He is married to Mary née Sciberras and the couple have five children, John, Beppe, Michael, Maria and Luigi.

Fenech-Adami joined the Christian Democratic Nationalist Party (PN) in the early 60s, where he earned himself a reputation as a reserved but determined and capable constituency official. He went to parliament in 1969, and in 1977, less than a decade later, after having served in a number of senior party posts, including that of president of the Administrative and General Councils, he was elected leader of the party. He succeeded Dr. Giorgio Borg-Olivier.

From the time when he went to parliament Fenech-Adami has been returned at every General Election, and as Party Leader won five popular elections between 1981 and 2003.

Between 1987 and 1996, Fenech-Adami, then Prime Minister, led a major phase of change for Malta. The physical infrastructure was completely revamped, as were the legal and business arrangements. Trade was liberalized, whilst telecommunications, banking and financial services were deregulated and/or privatised. Malta also started a period of incorporation with the European Union (EU) when its application was submitted on 16 July 1990. In 1990 he was appointed companion of honour of the National Order of Merit (KUOM), and was honoured in 1996 as Doctor of Law (honouris causa) by the Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.

Between 1996 and 1998 Fenech-Adami was the Leader of the Opposition until his Party was returned to Government in September 1998. He served a further 5 years as Prime Minister and Leader of his Party. Malta’s application for the EU, which was kept back by the previous Labour government, was then reactivated, and negotiations on EU membership were completed by December 2002. In April 2003 Fenech-Adami was re-elected as Prime Minister, following another electoral victory.

On 16 April 2003 he signed Malta’s Accession Treaty with the European Union, together with nine other Heads of Government of countries ready to become members of the EU on 1 May 2004.

As Malta’s Prime Minister he attended various EU Summits and also represented his country at a number of Commonwealth Meetings. As Leader of his Party he attended various summits of the European Peoples Party. During December 2003 he received the European of the Year 2003 Award from the influential European Voice, the Brussels-based newspaper. The award recognized his unfaltering efforts to bring Malta into the European Union.

On 7 February 2004, on his 70th birthday, he offered his resignation as Leader of the Nationalist Party, and on 23 March 2004 he resigned his premiership as well as his parliamentary seat.

Dr Fenech-Adami was elected as the seventh President of the Republic of Malta on 4 April 2004.