The Malta Independent 29 February 2020, Saturday

Updated: Prime Minister Abela says memorial to Caruana Galizia will not be cleared after vigil

Giulia Magri Thursday, 16 January 2020, 17:30 Last update: about 2 months ago

Prime Minister Robert Abela has said that the memorial to Daphne Caruana Galizia will not be removed after tonight's vigil, saying that he already gave instructions for it not to be cleared.

The Prime Minister was responding to a question posed by The Malta Independent.

The memorial to the slain journalist has been a constant fight for the civil society groups, as under the last legislature, cleansing officials would go at night to clean the memorial at the foot of the Great Siege Monument, only for activists to replace it soon after. 

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The vigil is happening later on tonight in Valletta marks 27 months since Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated. In the past two years, the memorial site was regularly cleared during the night, with orders coming directly from former Justice Minister Owen Bonnici. 

The Prime Minister also confirmed that he will be reaching out to civil society.

Alongside the Prime Minister was Anthony Agius Decelis, former Parliamentary Secretary for Elderly and Active Ageing, who did not receive a position in Prime Minister Abela's cabinet.

When asked as to why Agius Decelis was accompanying the Prime Minister, without giving a clear answer, Agius Decelis told media that the Prime Minister had offered him a number of roles and that "this particular role falls under my new one."

Abela’s meeting with the archbishop came a day after he said in a television interview that he did not see a need for change to Article II of Malta’s constitution regarding religion, since Malta is a tolerant nation.

Abela was asked whether this statement was a step back from the secular direction the country was heading in: "I believe that the direction of the country will remain the same, one that is secular, and Article 2 of the Constitution is balanced with the fundamental human rights, including the right that every person has the right to choose their own religion."

He said that the Church and state have worked closely on a number of projects in the past few years. "The Church has done a lot for the country, and I felt that I should come out of Castile and come here to meet the people who have provided so much for our country and many years of service." He said that whilst there is distance between the Church and the State he still recognises the work being done by the Church.

Archbishop Charles Scicluna said that it is important to continue working for the good of the community, and said that solidarity with the whole community is especially needed in this moment.

Abela has also made a clear statement that he is opposed to the introduction of abortion, and warned that if former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat proposed the introduction of abortion, "he will find me opposing him." When asked again regarding his position on the abortion debate, Abela said that "I am against abortion and in favour of life. Abortion is not legal in our country, and as long as I am Prime Minister, abortion will remain illegal."


 

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