Enrico Mizzi : biography
Enrico "Nerik" Mizzi (20 September 1885 – 20 December 1950) was a Maltese politician, leader of the Nationalist Party and Prime Minister of Malta.
Mizzi was born in Valletta on 20 September 1885, son of Fortunato and Maria Sofia Folliero de Luna. He was educated at the Gozo Seminary and Flores College and in 1903 he started his studies in literature and science at the University of Malta. In 1906 he began reading law at the Universities of La Sapienza (Rome) and Urbino, returning to Malta in 1912. After obtaining his warrant he spent a short period practicing as a lawyer, mostly in Gozo. He married Bice née Vassallo and they had one son, Fortunato, who later became a priest and founder of the Social Action Movement.
Council of Government
Mizzi was first elected to the Council of Government in 1915 as Member of the Comitato Patriottico representing Gozo.
In 1917 Mizzi was arrested and court-martialled on charges of sedition, under the Malta Defense Regulations for writings and statements against the British. In these writings Mizzi expresses the opinion that there could be an Anglo-Italian pact whereby Malta would be an autonomous regional entity within Italy, with full access to Maltese harbors and shipping facilities guaranteed to Britain.
He was sentenced to a year's imprisonment with hard labor, the loss of civil rights and the withdrawal of his lawyer's warrant. The sentence was commuted by Governor Methuen to a "severe censure", while his civil rights and warrant were restored following the cessation of hostilities in 1918.
In 1919 Mizzi was unanimously elected Secretary at the first meeting of the National Assembly, convened to petition to British for autonomous government. It was also the year of anti-British riots, in which a number of Maltese demonstrators were killed or wounded by British troops. They are commemorated every year on the Sette Giugno.
In 1921 Nerik Mizzi formed the Partito Democratico Nazionalista. In the election of the 1 November 1921, Mizzi's party won four seats in Gozo. After the 1924 elections, Mizzi's party formed a coalition government with the Unione Politica Maltese. In 1926 the two parties merged as the Nationalist Party. Mizzi was co-leader of the party with Sir Ugo Mifsud.
Nerik Mizzi held the post of Minister of Industry and Commerce (1924–27), Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Posts (1932), Minister of Education (1932–33). He was member of the legislative assembly (1921–30), (1932–33), (1947–50); and Leader of the Partito Nazionalista (1942–50), and Leader of the Opposition (1947–50). He founded the Circolo Giovane Malta and was life president of the Societa' Dante Alighieri.
Mizzi was the founder of the Eco di Malta e Gozo, organ of the Partito Democratico Nazionalista in 1921, and was founder of Malta, organ of the Nationalist Party (1926–40).
When Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, with Italy joining the Axis on 10 June 1940, Malta was drawn into the conflict. In the Nationalist tradition, particularly after 1880, Enrico Mizzi had expressed a consistent call for retaining close ties with Italy, a Fascist state after 1922, but especially for the retention of the age-old italianita'- latinita' Mediterranean heritage of the Maltese Islands.
This position made him a staunch opponent of British authority in the 'fortress colony' of Malta. Under strong Imperialist pressure led by the Anglo-Maltese Strickland family, as a precaution against a possible Italian invasion and the establishment of some puppet Fascist regime under Enrico Mizzi, a number of Italian sympathizers were arrested on suspicion of possible disloyalty to the British Crown, without charge or trial. On the 30 May 1940, while Mizzi was at the Malta Printing Press, he was arrested and interned in the Fortizza tas-Salvatur.
In February 1942, Governor Dobbie issued a warrant for the deportation of 47 Maltese, amongst whom was Enrico Mizzi, who were exiled to Uganda. Together with the group of deportees he was repatriated from Uganda on 8 March 1945 and immediately returned to Maltese politics by attending the Council Sitting on the 15 March.
The Nationalist Party won a relative majority in the 1950 elections and Enrico Mizzi was appointed Prime Minister in a hung parliament. He died at his residence, in Valletta, only three months later and was accorded a state funeral. To date, he is the only Maltese prime minister to die in office. His is remembered by the Maltese as a contributing force in the Maltese national and European identity.
A foundation, to promote and better appreciate his life and works and that of his father Fortunato, was founded in 2010.http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20101126/local/fortunato-and-enrico-mizzi-foundation-formed
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