The Malta Independent 21 January 2020, Tuesday

TMID Editorial: Political turmoil - Joseph, take a walk in the desert

Friday, 6 December 2019, 08:21 Last update: about 3 months ago

Joseph Muscat has submitted a sort of resignation. It is not that he’s not going. He is. It is not that we don’t know when he’s going. We know. It is just that he’s taken the unprecedented decision of separating the announcement of the resignation and putting it into effect by some 40 days. The length of time Christ spent resisting temptations in the desert.

The key question asks itself. Why has he decided to stay on? There is no one now agreeing with him. Not in his party. Not in his government. Not the country. Not the local and international media. And not any of Europe’s nations and institutions. Yet he keeps insisting on hanging on for 40 days.

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Why? Let us take a moment from the current hot house of earth-shattering news and ponder on this three letter question.

Let’s start with the unthinkable. Is it possible that we have a prime minister who wishes to remain close to the investigations, or worse still influence them? We, and all those who believe that we are still living in a European country, would like to think that this cannot be true. It certainly should not be true, given that the trail of blood and corruption is allegedly crawling up the steps of Castille.

The only other possible reason for him to stay on is less unthinkable, at least for a politician. Most party leaders who move on have, to a lesser or greater extent, tried to influence the election of their successor. Call it what you will but, it is not uncommon for leaders to have a go at this swan song. Could it be that Joseph Muscat wishes to have a go too?

If so, he should think again, and think hard. The leadership race in the Labour Party is not taking place under normal circumstances. Quite the opposite. The race track is paved on the ruins of a government that has collapsed. More poignantly, the bomb that blew Daphne Caruana Galizia literally out of existence did the same to Joseph Muscat’s Camelot. Malta Taghna Lkoll and L-Aqwa zmien are now buried in the soil of Bidnija.

In these circumstances, if Joseph Muscat has any respect for his party, he should completely stay away from who his successor should be. We realise that it could be hard for Joseph and Michelle Muscat to climb down from the gilded thrones of political omnipotence and glamour. But this is not a time for vanity or emotions to reign. It is a time for the national interest to be put above all else. Malta l-ewwel u qabel kollox, indeed.

Whatever Joseph Muscat’s sins are, whatever he fears that we will discover, he should spend 40 minutes and not 40 days in the desert to decide to make a final act as prime minister – to leave now.

This country, our economy, our family lives, all of us, need to close this chapter and go back to the Malta we know and love. Truth and justice must first be fully delivered in the courts, in all their shocking and soul-searching horror. Then, we will all commence the long and arduous journey to serenity.

 

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