Chris Fearne is set to retain his position as health minister – and also remain Deputy Prime Minister – in the shake-up to the Cabinet that is being planned by Prime Minister Robert Abela, sourced tole The Malta Independent.
Fearne lost the leadership battle to Abela, failed to attend the PL congress concluding session in which Abela delivered his first speech and also deserted the swearing-in ceremony that was held on Monday.
But Abela has said repeatedly, since winning the election, that he sees Fearne as part of his team and would like to have him participate in the Cabinet.
Fearne was among Labour MPs seen entering Castille yesterday morning as Abela is holding individual meetings to inform his colleagues of his plans. With the Fearne hurdle overcome, now he can move on. Had Fearne not accepted the proposal, Abela would have had to rehash his ideas for the Cabinet.
Addressing the media on Monday, Abela said that he and Fearne had spoken several times between the election and the swearing-in ceremony.
Apart from Fearne, the other Labour Deputy Leader – Chris Cardona – was also seen at Castille this morning.
Both Fearne and Cardona were reluctant to speak to the media, saying that the appointment of the Cabinet is the PM’s prerogative.
Fearne has been Health Minister since 2016, and is seen as having been one of the more successful ministers under the Muscat administration.
His decision not to quit the Deputy PM position also means that no election is needed to replace him.