VALLETTA, Malta – Malta's prime minister has tapped his social dialogue minister, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, to be the Mediterranean island nation's ninth president.
Coleiro Preca, 55, is Malta's youngest ever and the second woman appointed a president of this European Union member state, which this year is celebrating the 40th anniversary of becoming a republic.
The appointment is effective April 4, when Coleiro Preca takes over from President George Abela, who was appointed in 2009. Malta's presidents, who have no executive powers and are seen as figureheads, serve for five years and cannot be re-appointed.
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, in announcing the appointment Tuesday, said Coleiro Preca had been asked by the government to use her term to continue the work she started as minister to combat poverty.