The Malta Independent 22 May 2019, Wednesday

Watch: I am doing everything I can to ensure that Muscat stays on as PM – Konrad Mizzi

Jeremy Micallef Sunday, 10 March 2019, 14:01 Last update: about 3 months ago

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi has played down claims that he is interested in the Labour Party leadership, saying that he wants to convince Joseph Muscat to stay on as Prime Minister.

Last week, two newspapers reported that Mizzi was eyeing the PL leadership post, which is soon to be vacated by Muscat. The PM, who had said on several occasions that his is a ten-year project, stated on Friday that a Prime Minister should only serve for two terms. Muscat said he hoped that the issue of term limits should be discussed in the country's new convention. 

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Mizzi was elected PL deputy leader in 2016 but was dismissed from the post following the Panama Papers revelations.

Asked by The Malta Independent whether there was any truth to these reports, Mizzi said: “Currently we have a Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, who in my opinion is the best Prime Minister that this country ever had. I had the opportunity to work with him on a professional basis over the past seven years and he is also a good friend of mine. I will do everything I can, and will be meeting the delegates and members, to ensure that Joseph Muscat stays on.”

The Tourism Minister said the government’s priority at the moment should be the European Parliament elections. “I hope we get a good result. It is an uphill struggle because if we get the same result as the general election that would still only give us three seats. After that, I am confident that the movement for Joseph Muscat to stay will get even stronger.”

When told that Joseph Muscat has already made it clear that he will be stepping down and asked if he would be interested in contesting should Muscat actually leave, Mizzi said that “one week is a long time in politics” and there is quite some time left until the end of this term.

“I wish that Dr Muscat would stay because the popularity and trust rating he enjoys puts him in a strong position to carry out the necessary changes on gender equality, the environment, on people who are being left behind, creating new opportunities and strengthening regulation. I will be there pushing him to do this.”

This newspaper also asked Mizzi about his decision to drop libel cases – related to the Panama Papers – that he had instated against Daphne Caruana Galizia, Simon Busuttil and Beppe Fenech Adami. The PN claimed that Mizzi dropped the cases only because Nexia BT’s Karl Cini had been summoned to testify.  

Mizzi said he dropped the cases some six weeks ago after a Magistrate “closed the doors in the face of former Opposition Leader Simon Busuttil and told him that essentially the key tenets he was pushing had not been proven in any way.”

“I don’t know why this was reported again because the libel cases were dropped quite a while back. I think that this whole issue was played by Busuttil before the general election and it did not play out well for him. He seems to want to persevere, with the help of some elements of the media. People want us to focus on delivery and quality of life and that is what we will be doing.” 

 

Video: Michael Camilleri

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