VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — Malta has sworn in the country's youngest-ever president whose aim is to give a voice to the disadvantaged.
The 55-year-old Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca previously served as social policy minister. She takes over from George Abela, who was appointed in 2009.
Breaking from tradition, the Mass that preceded Coleiro Preca's swearing-in ceremony Friday was held in a home for disabled people, a symbolic gesture by a president whose declared aim is to help the needy.
She became Malta's ninth president and is the second woman to be appointed head of state in the European Union country. Malta's presidents, who have no executive powers and are seen as figureheads, serve for five years and can't be re-appointed.
Malta is year is celebrating the 40th anniversary of becoming a republic.