George Vella has officially been sworn-in as the President of Malta.
The Prime Minister paid tribute to Malta’s new head of state as ‘a man of absolute integrity’.
Dr Vella is Malta’s 10th president since 1974.
He was awarded an honorary knighthood by The Queen five months ago.
Malta’s outgoing president Marie Louise Coleiro Preca praised her successor.
She tweeted: ‘I am truly convinced that George Vella is indeed the right person to serve as Malta’s new President.’
President Vella took the oath of office at a special ceremony in Parliament in Valletta on Thursday morning.
He said: ‘I, George Vella, solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of Malta, and will, to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of Malta. So help me God.’
At the end of the ceremony he greeted the crowd from the Palace balcony.
Four helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft from the Armed Forces of Malta then performed a fly-past.
The new President was then taken to San Anton Palace in Attard, his home for the next five years.
President Vella will head to Gozo on Saturday for an official walkabout in Independence Square in Victoria from 9.30am.
Who is George Vella?
- George Vella was born in Zejtun on 24 April 1942. He will be 77 later this month.
- He went to school at De La Salle College in Vittoriosa
- He graduated as a doctor at the age of 22 and started work at the Royal Naval Dockyard in Cospicua soon after
- Dr Vella later studied in aviation medicine in Hampshire and became a medical consultant to Air Malta in the 1970s
- He was first elected as an MP in 1978
- He was appointed Deputy Prime Minister in 1996.
- Dr Vella has served as Malta’s foreign minister under two different Prime Ministers.
- He is married to Miriam and has two daughters and a son, and seven grandchildren.
- He was awarded Malta’s highest honour, the Companion of the National Order of Merit, in 2017.
- He was honoured by The Queen as an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George