Dr Lawrence Gonzi (2004 - 2013)

Prime Minister of Malta (2004 – 2013)

Dr Lawrence Gonzi took office as Prime Minister of Malta on 23 March 2004. After the March 2008 general elections, Dr Gonzi was re-elected Prime Minister and set out to continue transforming the Maltese Islands into a modern and dynamic European country and attain the Vision 2015 targets. Dr Gonzi was born in Valletta on 1 July 1953 and is the elder of four siblings. He received his formal education at St Joseph school and later at St Aloysious College and The Archbishop’s Seminary. Dr Gonzi was also a member of the Circolo Gioventu` Cattolica.
He graduated from the University of Malta as a lawyer in 1975. Following that he practiced law in a private firm and later on worked as a company lawyer with the Mizzi Organisation for whom he served as Group Chairman between 1989 and 1997.
Dr Gonzi has been actively involved in the voluntary sector, particularly in the disability rights movement and mental health sector. He was also the General President of the Malta Catholic Action between 1976 and 1986.
In November 1987, Dr Gonzi was appointed as the first Chairman of the National Commission for the Disabled and he retained this role until April 1994.
On 10 October 1988 he was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives for the sixth legislature (1988-1992) and on the 5 April 1992 he was unanimously re-elected Speaker for the seventh legislature (1992-1996). His nomination for Speaker was submitted by the Prime Minister and seconded by the Leader of the Opposition. During his term as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dr Gonzi overhauled the methods in which Parliament used to operate, such as the set up of permanent committees. While serving as Speaker, Dr Gonzi introduced new procedures with regards to the time established for the debate between the two sides of the House. His tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives exposed his modest but firm bearing, which has helped calm frayed tempers during quite difficult moments for the house.

Dr Gonzi contested the October 1996 General Elections and was elected to Parliament. In November 1996, he was appointed Opposition Party Whip, Secretary to the Parliamentary Group and Shadow Minister for Social Policy. One year after he was elected Secretary General of the Nationalist Party.

Following the September 1998 General Elections, Dr Gonzi was appointed Minister for Social Policy and Leader of the House of Representatives. He also served as Deputy Prime Minister between May 1994 and March 2004.

In the election of 12 April 2003, Dr Gonzi was re-elected and appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Policy.

On 23 March 2004, Dr Gonzi was sworn in as Prime Minister, including in his portfolio the Ministry of Finance between 2004 and 2008.

On 1 May 2004, Malta joined the European Union and as Prime Minister, Dr Gonzi attended the EU enlargement official ceremony which took place in Dublin, Ireland, where the Maltese flag was hoisted for the first time alongside those of the 24 member states.

As Head of the Maltese Government, Dr Gonzi hosted the 2005 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which was held in Malta.

During the first term of his premiership, Dr Gonzi guided Malta through a restructuring process that resulted in Malta’s economy fulfilling the required criteria for the adoption of the euro as Malta’s national currency from 1 January 2008. He also embarked upon a drive to improve the management of public finances, focused sharply upon improving Malta’s competitiveness in the international market and accelerated the restructuring process of the public sector.

On 8 March 2008, Dr Gonzi was re-elected Prime Minister. In his first message to the nation at the beginning of this legislature Dr Gonzi said that the work of his government should be based on sustainable development with an emphasis on the country’s environment.

Dr Lawrence Gonzi is married to Catherine nee` Callus and they have three children: David, Mikela and Paul.