Joseph Muscat (politician)

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Dr. Joseph Muscat was born in Pietà on 22 January 1974. He received his formal education at the Government Primary School in San Pawl il-Baħar, Stella Maris and St. Aloysius’ College. He graduated with Honours from the University of Malta in Public Policy and later as Master of European Studies. In 2007 he attained a Doctorate of Philosophy in Management Research from the University of Bristol (UK).

Muscat worked as a journalist with the party's radio station, One Radio (then Super One Radio). He later took on a similar role at Super One TV (today One TV, becoming the station's assistant head of news in 1996. He was also editor of the party's online newspaper, between 2001 and 2004. Muscat wrote a regular column in l-Orizzont, a Maltese-language newspaper published by the General Workers' Union and its sister Sunday weekly it-Torċa, and was a regular contributor to The Times, an independent newspaper published in Malta.

Muscat was as a member of the youth section of the Malta Labour Party, the Labour Youth (Forum Żgħażagħ Laburisti) where he served as Financial Secretary (1994–97) and Acting Chairperson (1997). He later served as Education Secretary in the Central Administration of the Party (2001–2003) and Chairman of its Annual General Conference (November 2003). During the Labour government of 1996-98 he was a member of the National Commission for Fiscal Morality (1997–98).

In 2003 he was nominated to a working group led by Dr. George Vella and Evarist Bartolo on the Labour Party's policies on the European Union. This working group produced the document Il-Partit Laburista u l-Unjoni Ewropea: Għall-Ġid tal-Maltin u l-Għawdxin ('Labour Party and the European Union: For the benefit of the Maltese and the Gozitans') which was adopted by the Labour Party Extraordinary General Conference in November of that year. At this General Conference Muscat was approved as a candidate for the election to the European Parliament

Despite being staunchly against Malta's entry into the European Union, Muscat was elected to the European Parliament in the 2004 European Parliament Election being the Labour Party (formerly the Malta Labour Party) candidate who received the most first-preference votes. Sitting as a Member of the European Parliament, with the Party of European Socialists, he held the post of Vice-President of the Parliament's Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and substitute member of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection. He was a member of a number of delegations for relations with Belarus and with the countries of south-east Europe. He was also a member of the EU-Armenia, EU-Azerbaijan and EU-Georgia Parliamentary Cooperation Committees. As an MEP he supported a reduction in the tax for Sateliite television, the right for customers to watch sport events for free, and a number of issues related to environment protection in Malta. He formed part of a team responsible for a report on the roaming mobile phone bills and sale of banks.

Muscat resigned his seat in the European Parliament in 2008 to take up a seat in the Maltese Parliament and the role of Leader of the Opposition. Four months previously, he had been elected Leader of the Labour Party. Before his resignation his report proposing new regulations for the EU’s financial services sector was adopted by the European Parliament.

On 24 March 2008 Muscat announced his candidacy for the post of Party Leader, to replace Dr. Alfred Sant, who had resigned after a third consecutive defeat for the Party in the March 2008 general election and a heavy defeat in the EU referendum in March 2003.

Although not a member of the Maltese House of Representatives, Muscat was elected as the new party leader on 6 June 2008. In order to take up the post of Leader of the Opposition, Muscat was coopted in the Maltese Parliament on 1 October 2008 to fill the seat vacated by Joseph Cuschieri for the purpose. The latter eventually took up the sixth seat allocated to Malta in the European Parliament once the Treaty of Lisbon was brought into effect in 2011. On taking up the Leadership post Muscat introduced a number of changes to the Party, notably the change of official name and party emblem.

In the 2009 Maltese European Parliament Elections, the first with Muscat as Party Leader, Labour candidates obtained 55% of first-preferences against the 40% obtained by candidates of the Partit Nazzjonalista.

Muscat contested Malta's general elections for the first time in March 2013 and was elected in District 2 – Il-Birgu, L-Isla, Il-Bormla, Ħaż-Żabbar, Il-Kalkara, Ix-Xgħajra at the first count with 13968 votes and District 4 - Part of Il-Fgura, Il-Gudja, Ħal Għaxaq, Part of Il-Marsa, Paola, Santa Luċija, Ħal Tarxien at the first count with 12202 votes and 53% of the vote. On 11 March 2013 he was sworn in as Prime Minister of Malta.

Dr Muscat is married to Michelle, née Tanti, and they have twin daughters, Etoile Ella and Soleil Sophie.