The Malta Independent 25 February 2020, Tuesday

Election for new leader has made the Labour Party stronger, Muscat says

Karl Azzopardi Sunday, 22 December 2019, 12:09 Last update: about 3 months ago

Outgoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Sunday morning that his resignation and the upcoming leadership election have made the Labour Party stronger.

Speaking on One Radio, Muscat also said the allegations made by the Opposition about Egrant have shown their weakness.

On Monday, Opposition Leader Adrian Delia won the right to be given a full copy of the Egrant report. Delia published the report the following day.

Muscat was asked to give his opinion on the Opposition going silent on the false allegations that he or his wife owned the Panama company.

“In truth, all that is now known publicly confirms one thing clearly: someone took the initiative to falsify documents through which they tried to not only create a frame-up against my wife and family but also destabilise the country.Who this person or group of people is has not been discovered. What is known is the person who tried to take advantage of the situation, that is, the ex-Opposition Leader (Simon Busuttil) and the people working with him who spent months on hearsay and underhand dealings and threaten our country.”

Muscat said he wanted to publish the report but could not because of the responsibility of the office he holds. The Attorney General had also advised against the publication of these documents which could have had a negative effect on the situation.

He added that “today we can see that the contents of the inquiry confirm the conclusions.There isn’t one aspect from the inquiry that goes against the conclusions, which shows that, as Prime Minister, I did not interfere in the police investigation, even when there was an order for people to be arrested and investigated.”

Muscat believes that he carried his political responsibilities.“There are others who have not carried this responsibility, because it is clear that a lie was created about my wife and myself which the Nationalist Party took advantage of, and the current and previous Leader of the Opposition have still not taken responsibility for it.”

When asked about his view on the future of Malta, Muscat expressed that the Labour Party is stronger than ever and is more than capable of guiding Malta in the right direction. This belief is based on the fact that he is aware of the solidity of the mandate the party was given by the electorate. He said he has full trust in Chris Fearne and Robert Abela in being able to take this country forward.

“In this process of finding a new leader for our party, we can confirm that this is strengthening the bonds of the Labour Party. This is a process which fragmented the Opposition and broke it once and for all, so much so that it can never be pieced back together.”

“There are people who thought that this would happen to the Labour Party and I am proud that there is an open and civil discussion with two strong contenders, a commodity others did not have. If anything, we find ourselves united on the direction in which we will be going. This process will give the government a new lease of life as there is a lot of good coming from it on which we can build upon.”

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