Malta Dom Mintoff 21 September 1964
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Remembering Maltese Prime Minister George Borg Olivier

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George Borg Olivier served twice as Prime Minister, and was the first Prime Minister of an independent Malta.

He was formally handed the Instruments of Independence by the Duke of Edinburgh at a special ceremony watched by thousands in Floriana in 1964.

The legal documents established Malta’s independence from the United Kingdom.

Dr Borg Olivier was born in Valletta in 1911 and studied law at the Royal University of Malta before graduating in 1937.

He then pursued a career in politics and was elected to the Council of Government two years later.

In 1950, he succeeded Dr Enrico Mizzi as leader of the Nationalist Party and Prime Minster until he lost the 1955 general election to his Labour rival Dom Mintoff.

In 1962 the Nationalists were returned to power, with Borg Olivier again Prime Minister.

In 1963, after a series of talks with the British Government at Westminster, the Constitution for an independent Malta was prepared.

It was approved by Parliament and endorsed by the Maltese people in a referendum in February 1964.

Malta became an independent nation within the Commonwealth on 21 September 1964.

Independence was part of a package which included retaining the British defence facilities in Malta for 10 years as well as financial aid from London.

Dr Borg Olivier lost the 1971 general election to Mr Mintoff but remained Leader of the Opposition until his retirement six years later.

He passed away at his home in Sliema in 1980 at the age of 69.

A statue in honour of Dr Borg Olivier was erected in Castille Square in Valletta in 1989.

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