Former Prime Minister Dom Mintoff passed away on Monday evening at his residence in Tarxien, aged 96.
The former Labour leader, Malta's longest serving politician, will be remembered for the introduction of welfare services and civil rights in Malta. He led negotiations with Downing Street in the early 1970s over the end of the British military on the islands.
Dom Mintoff referred to simply as il-Perit (the architect) was born on August 6, 1916, died August 20, 2012) was a Maltese politician, journalist and architect, who served as leader of the Labour Party from 1949 to 1984, Prime Minister of Malta from 1955 to 1958 (when Malta was still a British crown colony) and again, post-Independence, from 1971 to 1984. Mintoff's time as Prime Minister was notable for a general increase in the average standard of living and the establishment of a comprehensive welfare state.
His major achievements included the setting up of the Republic of Malta in 1974 and the closure of the military bases of NATO (1972) and the UK in 1979 and transforming Malta’s dependence on serving as a military base for overseas powers into an economy based on tourism and manufacturing.
He also introduced reforms to bring about a separation of state and church, decriminalised homosexuality and pushed for a change in the electoral law to ensure that the party with a majority of votes has a majority of seats in parliament.