Presidents of Malta
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Prof. Guido de Marco
President of Malta (1999 – 2004)
Prof. Guido de Marco was elected President of Malta on 4th April 1999.
He was re-appointed Deputy Prime Minister of Malta and Minister of Foreign Affairs on September 8, 1998, following the Nationalist Party's victory at the 1998 General Elections, a capacity which he held until his nomination to the Presidency of Malta. On the 11th September, he presented Malta's request for the reactivation of its application for membership to the European Union to H.E. Wolfgang Schüssel, Foreign Minister of Austria and President of the European Union.
Prof. Guido de Marco was first elected in the interests of the Nationalist Party to the House of Representatives in April 1966 and has been returned to Parliament at every General Election. Appointed Secretary General of the Nationalist Party in 1972, he served until 1977 when elected Deputy Leader and had since been uninterruptedly confirmed until his resignation in March 1999.
When the Nationalist Party was returned to office in 1987, Prof. de Marco was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior and Justice. During his tenure, Prof. de Marco introduced several bills in the House of Representatives that integrated important conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights into domestic law. As Interior Minister he led the reform and modernization of the Police Force and founded the Police Academy.
As Minister of the Interior and Justice he attended Conference of European Law Ministers in Lisbon (1988), and the Hague (1989) and of the Commonwealth Law Ministers in New Zealand (1990). It was also during his tenure that Malta became a member of the Pompidou Group, where he participated at its meeting of Ministers held in London in 1989. Prof. de Marco led Malta's delegation to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on Drugs held in New York.
He was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs in May 1990 and remained in office until October 1996. One of his first acts as Foreign Minister was submitting Malta's application for membership of the European Communities in Brussels on July 16th, 1990. Stressing Malta's European vocation, Prof. de Marco also underlined the validity of the Mediterranean dimension. He continued to promote and pursue the principle that the Euro-Mediterranean dialogue was a basic element in creating structures to consolidate regional security and co-operation. He was also instrumental in consolidating Malta's active contribution to the work of international organisations, including the United Nations, the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Commonwealth.
On 18th September 1990, Prof. Guido de Marco was elected President of the United Nations General Assembly (45th Session). During this time he initiated a dialogue, that later led to a presidential motion unanimously approved, to revitalize the General Assembly and other aspects of reform necessary during a time of transition in international relations. Representing the General Assembly, as its President, Prof. de Marco undertook a number of diplomatic initiatives leading to his visit to the refugee camps in the Occupied Territories and Jordan, to Ethiopia and Albania.
Other initiatives include his meetings with US Secretary of State, James Baker during the Gulf War and with H.H. Pope John Paul II. He was also invited to Mosow for talks by the USSR Council of Ministers and to the People's Republic of China. As President of the United Nations General Assembly he also visited the Democratic Republic of Korea and the Republic of Korea in May 1991 leading to the admission of these two countries to the United Nations, as well as Chernobyl, the Czech and Slovak Republic. During his Presidency, Prof. de Marco also proposed a new role for the Trusteeship Council, an initiative which was pursued by Malta within the United Nations and which is still under discussion to date.
Between 1990 and 1996, Prof. de Marco also spearheaded other key initiatives in both the bilateral and multilateral fields including the expansion of Malta's representation overseas and the conclusion of important agreements in areas essential for economic growth and co-operation. He headed Malta's delegation to the various CSCE/OSCE Conferences. In January 1992, at the CSCE Council in Prague, Malta launched Prof. de Marco's initiative to declare the CSCE a regional arrangement in terms of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, a proposal which was later approved by the Heads of State and Government at the Helsinki Summit. He also continued to promote dialogue between the CSCE and the Mediterranean non-participating States. Prof. de Marco has given particular attention to the Maltese Community overseas and has visited Maltese migrants in Australia, Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and smaller communities in a number of other countries.
Prof. de Marco was elected by the House of Representatives to be one of its representatives at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in 1967 where he remained for almost twenty years as a member of this Parliamentary Assembly. He served as member and rapporteur on several occasions of the Legal Affairs Committee and Vice President of the Committee on Rules of Procedure. During 1996 - 1998 he was re-elected by the House of Representatives as a member of Malta's delegation to the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly during which time he was elected Chairman of the newly constituted Monitoring Committee. He also continued to serve in his capacity as Vice-President on the Independent World Commission on Oceans.
Between 1996 and 1998 Prof. de Marco served as Shadow Minister and Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs and as a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs.
Prof. Guido de Marco was born in Valletta on 22nd July 1931, son of the late Emanuele and Giovanna née Raniolo. He was educated at St. Joseph High School, St. Aloysius College and the University of Malta. He graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in 1952, in Philosophy, Economics and Italian and in 1955 as a Doctor of Laws. Since 1967 he has been a lecturer and later a Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Malta. He was married to Violet née Saliba. They have a son, Mario and two daughters, Gianella and Fiorella, all members of the legal profession. Prof de Marco passed away on 12th August 2010.
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