Malta's President-elect George Vella arrives at the Presidential Palace for his inauguration as President, in Valletta, Malta, April 4, 2019. (Photo: VCG)
Maltese former foreign minister George Vella was named the country's new president on Thursday, taking over from Marie Louise Coleiro Preca who was one of Europe's few female ceremonial heads of state.
Vella, 76, said his presidency would be impartial and just. "I am convinced that whoever needs help should receive it as a right not as charity. We need to be aware that there is material poverty among our people," he said.
Vella, a doctor, is a pro-life campaigner and has come out strongly against the introduction of abortion. "As a doctor, I will fight for the health of this country and the respect for life from start to finish of every individual," Vella said.
Vella was nominated by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the choice was approved by parliament. His tenure will span five years.