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Professor Guido de Marco

Guido de Marco aboard USS La Salle, 2003

In office
1999 – 2004
Prime Minister Edward Fenech Adami
Lawrence Gonzi
Preceded by Ugo Mifsud Bonnici
Succeeded by Edward Fenech Adami

Born 22 July 1931 (1931-07-22) (age 78)
Valletta, Malta

Guido de Marco (born July 22, 1931) was President of Malta from 1999 to 2004.


Early life

Prof. Guido de Marco was born in Valletta, Malta on July 22, 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. For a time he served as a lawyer for the government.

He is married to Violet (née Saliba). They have a son, Mario, and two daughters, Gianella and Fiorella, all members of the legal profession.

Political life

He unsuccessfully contested the 1962 elections with the Democratic Nationalist Party (a splinter group of the Partit Nazzjonalista or Nationalist Party). He subsequently joined the main party and was elected for the first time in the interests of the Nationalist Party to the House of Representatives of Malta in April 1966 and was returned to Parliament at every General Election until 1998. 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 Malta 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 and Justice in May 1990 and Minister of Foreign Affairs between February 1992 and 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 16, 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 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe and the Commonwealth.

On September 18, 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 United Nations General Assembly and other aspects of reform necessary during a time of transition in international relations. Representing the United Nations 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 United States Secretary of State, James Baker during the Gulf War and with H.H. Pope John Paul II. He was also invited to Moscow 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 North Korea and South Korea in May 1991, leading to the admission of these two countries to the United Nations, as well as Chernobyl and Czechoslovakia. 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 of Malta 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 Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 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.

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 September 11, 1998, he presented Malta's request for the reactivation of its application for membership to the European Union to H.E. Wolfgang Schüssel, then Foreign Minister of Austria and President of the Council of the European Union.


On 4 April 1999, he was appointed President of Malta.


He was, after the termination of office as President of Malta, appointed Chairman of the Commonwealth Foundation. [1]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Joseph Nanven Garba
President of the United Nations General Assembly
Succeeded by
Samir S. Shihabi
Political offices
Preceded by
Ugo Mifsud Bonnici
President of Malta
Succeeded by
Edward Fenech Adami
Preceded by
Guze Cassar
Deputy Prime Minister
Succeeded by
Lawrence Gonzi


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