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Mintoff founded the Malta Labour Party (MLP) in 1949 after a cabinet split with veteran Labour Party leader Dr Paul Boffa . Mintoff served as Leader of the Opposition between 1950 and 1955 when the MLP won the elections with Mintoff as Prime Minister. The main electoral pledge of this Government was Integration with Britain. This, however, failed and Mintoff resigned calling for Independence.
Mintoff served again as Leader of the Opposition between 1962 and 1971. In 1971 his Party won the elections and Mintoff, as Prime Minister, oversaw nationalisation, expansion of the welfare state, consitutional changes (Malta became a republic in 1974) and the closure of the British military base British military from the islands in 1979. More controversially, Mintoff strengthened ties with the Gadaffi regime in neighbouring Libya, and with communist countries such as China and North Korea.
Mintoff's relations with the Church were marked by confrontation, and his last years in office were marked by disagreements over the Church's role in education, particularly schools. He stepped down as Prime Minister down in 1984, but remained a backbench MP.
Mintoff was again in the news in 1998 when he voted against his Party, an act which brought the premature downfall of the Labour government. Mintoff did not contest the 1998 and 2003 elections although he has campaigned against Malta's membership of the European Union.
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