Joseph Muscat MP KUOM, is a Maltese politician who has served as Prime Minister of Malta since 2013, and Leader of the Partit Laburista (PL) since June 2008.
Muscat was re-elected as Prime Minister on the 3rd of June 2017 (55.04% after 54.83% in 2013). Previously he was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 2004 to 2008. He was Leader of the Opposition from October 2008 to March 2013. Muscat identifies as a progressive and liberal politician, with pro-business leanings, and has been associated with both economically liberal and socially liberal policies.
Becoming an MP in 2008, he succeeded Alfred Sant as party leader. Muscat rebranded the Labour Party, which embraced an increasingly socially liberal position. The 2013 General Election led to Muscat becoming Prime Minister and taking office in March 2013. His first premiership was marked for pulling together a national consensus for economic growth,based on a restructured Maltese economy. Following the Gonzi administration, and with continued support from the newly elected Labour government, Malta became an attractive location for foreign direct investment in financial services, online gaming, information technology, maritime and aviation hubs and high value-added manufacturing clusters. His administration led to large-scale changes to welfare with the introduction of social benefit tapering policies, increases in minimum wages, and introduced private sector involvement in healthcare. It partly privatized the national energy provider, and officially recognized same-sex unions in Malta. The legislation established civil unions for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples with the same rights as those available to married couples, including joint adoption rights. Same-sex marriage was legalized in mid-July 2017.
Beyond making the Maltese left electable, Muscat presided over the rise of the Labour party and its dominance in Maltese politics, and the relative decline of the Nationalist Party. Muscat has been praised for eliminating Malta’s national deficit, decreasing unemployment to historic lows, and presiding over an unprecedented period of economic growth.