Robert Abela has been sworn in as Malta’s 14th Prime Minister.
The ceremony took place at the Palace in Valletta.
He took the oath of office before President George Vella.
Abela has replaced Joseph Muscat, who stepped down in the wake of the recent developments in the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
He won the Labour leadership election on Saturday, beating Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne. The latter, who has reportedly started packing up his things at the Health Ministry, did not attend the swearing in ceremony.
Joseph Muscat was seen leaving Castille for the last time at 2pm, and headed to the Grand Master’s Palace, where he handed in his resignation to the President.
Most Cabinet members and Labour MPs attended the event. These included former Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, who received a huge round of applause by the crowd waiting in St George’s Square.
President Emeritus George Abela, Robert Abela’s father, was also in attendance. In comments to the media, he urged his son to keep his feet firmly on the ground. He said he had been struck by the warm welcome Robert had received after being elected Labour leader.
The guests at the palace also include OPM Coordinator Neville Gafa, a close friend of disgraced OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri. Gafa is embroiled in the Libyan medical visas scandal.
Sandro Craus, the OPM head of customer care who gave middleman Melvin Theuma a phantom government job, was also seen entering the palace.
Abela was applauded as he emerged, flanked by President Vella as well as his wife Lydia, and their daughter, on the Palace balcony. He then took time to speak to many of those who were waiting to greet him in St George’s Square.
The new PM then walked to his new office in Castille.
Photos: Alenka Falzon