Dr. Alfred Sant (MEP)
Member of the EU Parliament; Former Prime Minister of Malta
BiographyAlfed Sant is a former Prime Minister of Malta and member of the Maltese Labour Party. Born in Pietà, Malta in February 1948, Sant was educated at the University of Malta, graduating B.Sc and M.Sc in 1968, before studying public administration and diplomacy at the Institut International d'Administration Publique (I.I.A.P) in Paris. Between 1970 and 1975, Sant went on to work as second and first secretary at the Malta Mission to the European Communities in Brussels, specializing in European affairs and in bilateral relations with Western European countries.
After leaving the diplomatic service to further his education in the United States, Sant obtained both an M.B.A with high honours from Boston University in 1976 and a D.B.A from Harvard Business School in 1979.
Returning to Malta in 1979, Sant went on to work as a public sector consultant on management and social issues, eventually going on to take the position of executive deputy chairman of the Malta Development Corporation (M.D.C.) where he promoted industrial development on the Island between 1979 and 1982. During his return to the public sector, Sant was chairman of the island's leading clothing company at the time and then at the foundry Metalfond. Various management and consultancy assignments required that he travel around the globe.
His long-standing involvement in politics began in 1982, when he took the post of chairman in the Maltese Labour party's information department. He was subsequently elected as leader of the party after the resignation of then leader Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici in 1984, and in 1987 he entered parliament, and he stood as leader of the opposition for the first time between 1992 and 1996. After the Labour Party won the 1996 election with a successful campaign by Sant for the abolition of the newly introduced value added tax in Malta and its replacement with similar customs and excise tax, Sant was sworn in as Prime Minister of Malta and his term in office lasted 22 months between 1996 and 1998. He resumed the role as leader of opposition from 1998 to 2008.
In the run-up to the 2003 Maltese election, Sant campaigned heavily against Malta's membership in the European Union, and urged the Labour followers to vote either 'no', abstain or invalidate their vote in what he dubbed a "Sham Referendum". Despite the outcome being unclear as only half the registered voters had voted yes on Malta's inauguration in the EU, the then-Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami convinced the President to dissolve Parliament and call another election, but once again Labour were defeated at the polls. Sant tendered his resignation as party leader after defeat, before re-running, and was successfully re-elected with 66% of the votes.
Sant spearheaded the 2008 election run-up with the programme 'Pjan ghal bidu gdid' (Plan for a new beginning) and called for a change after almost 20 years (save for his 22 month stint between 1996 and 1998) of Partit Nazzjonalista (Nationalist Party) government. Sant resigned as leader of the Labour Party on 10 March 2008, and as Leader of the Opposition on 5 June 2008, but he still retains his parliamentary seat.
A passionate novelist and playwright, Sant has always been extensively involved with journalism, theatre and creative writing, as well as contributing to numerous periodicals, magazines and journals. Between 1978 and 1992, Sant was the Economist Intelligence Unit's correspondent for Malta, and between 1986 and 1992, correspondent for The European Review. He has published four Maltese language novels, as well as various essays, plays and short stories.
Between 1984 and 1988, Sant was married to Mary Darmanin and he has a daughter, Marta.