The Malta Independent 13 December 2019, Friday

Prime Minister expected to resign in January

Sunday, 1 December 2019, 13:27 Last update: about 11 days ago

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is expected to resign in January, paving the way for a successor whose task will be to restore the government’s credibility following the recent events that have tarnished its reputation.

The decision is as yet to be made official, and it is unclear when the PM will announce it. Sources have said that there is a possibility that the announcement will be made later today.

This morning, Labour MPs met at the PM’s official residence in Girgenti to hold a four-hour meeting during which the plan for the coming weeks was discussed.

Muscat has been under great pressure for the past days as his former chief of staff Keith Schembri was arrested and questioned by the police in connection with the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The arrest of Black 17 owner Yorgen Fenech opened up a Pandora’s Box with the government structure, with Minister Konrad Mizzi also resigning in the wake of a string of developments, while Chris Cardona suspended himself from minister after he was questioned by the police.

Schembri was released last Thursday, with Fenech arraigned on Saturday evening and charged with complicity in the murder of Caruana Galizia. She was killed by a car bomb on 16 October, 2017. Three men have been accused with carryong out the assassination. The compilation of evidence is still underway but the three have already been indicted and will face a trial.

The events of the last few days has led to a huge turmoil in the upper echelons of the Labour Party. 

Muscat has repeatedly said that he wants to remain in the premiership seat to give stability to the nation, and said he will only take decisions after the investigations into the murder are complete.

Now that Fenech has been charged, Muscat is now expected to stick to his word.

Malta has been in the news for the wrong reasons in the international media, and Europe is looking closely at the latest developments, with a European Parliament delegation expected in Malta on Monday to further its knowledge on the country's situation.

The likelihood is that the election for the Labour leadership will take place on 18 January, but this is still to be officially confirmed. If more than two candidates show an interest in the position, an initial poll will be taken on 8 January to choose the two "finalists".

Muscat has repeatedly said that he will not be PL leader in the next election. His attempt to get a job within the European Union structures failed earlier this year, and this prompted him to prolong his stay. But recent events in connection with the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case have increased calls for his departure.

 

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