Dr. Enrico (Nerik) Mizzi, son of Fortunato Mizzi and Maria Sofia Folliero de Luna, was born in Valletta on the 20th September 1885. He was married to Bice Vassallo, daughter of Paolino Vassallo, and had one child: Dun Fortunato Mizzi.
Nerik was educated at the Gozo Seminary, Flores College, and in 1903 he began his studies in literature and science. In 1906 he started reading law at the Universities of Rome and Urbino. However, Nerik hardly practiced his legal profession as he felt more drawn to politics and journalism.
In November 1915, Nerik Mizzi, supported by the Comitato Patriottico, contested for the first time as a candidate for Gozo. He achieved a resounding success. He strove hard to obtain a liberal Constitution from the British. On 7th May 1917 he was arrested at his residence and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment, without hard labour, but Governor Methuen changed his sentence of imprisonment into a serious warning. During the first meeting of the National Assembly, which was held in the Giovine Malta, Nerik Mizzi was nominated and elected Secretary of the Assembly by unanimous vote.
In 1921 Nerik Mizzi formed the Partito Democratico Nazionale. In the election of the1st November 1921, Nerik Mizzi’s party elected four candidates in Gozo. After the 1924 elections, Nerik Mizzi’s party formed a coalition government with the Unione Politica Maltese. Nerik Mizzi was appointed Minister for Agriculture and Posts. In 1926 the two parties, UPM and PDN, joined forces and became the Partito Nazionalista. Nerik Mizzi was co-Leader with Sir Ugo Mifsud until 1942. During this time he was Minister of Industry and Commerce (1924-27), Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Posts (1932), and Minister of Education (1932-33). He was member of the legislative assembly (1921-30), (1932-33), (1947-50); Leader of the Partito Nazionalista (1942-50); and Leader of the Opposition (1947-50). He also served as delegate to the N.A. between 1945 and 1947.
On the 30th 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 an illegal warrant for the deportation of 47 Maltese, including Nerik Mizzi, to Uganda. The group was repatriated from Uganda on the 8th March 1945 and Nerik immediately embarked on his political activity by attending the Council Sitting on the 15th March.
In September 1950, Nerik Mizzi became Prime Minister of Malta. He passed away at his residence, in Valletta, on the 20th December 1950 and received a state funeral. During his life he was known as “Il Cavaliere senza Macchia e senza paura”.
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