Labour Party Leader Joseph Muscat signed off on Friday evening, delivering his last speech as prime minister to packed hall of Labour supporters in Paola.
Here’s how the event was reported:
MaltaToday – Regrets, he’s had a few… Muscat bows out basking in the glory of his supporters
“Regrets, he’s had a few. But then again, not more than his achievements. With choreographed camerawork beaming a TV spectacular of the evening’s proceedings, Muscat made his typically deft oration the highlight of the evening, vacillating between self-congratulatory reflection and a few pauses on his regrets – the Caruana Galizia assassination chief among them, “for which I have paid the highest political prices” he said, repeatedly. No mentio was made of his former chief of staff, Keith Schembri, the man now allegedly implicated in an assassination for which his friend, Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech, stands accused of.
He bowed out under a dark cloud – he seemed aware of that – yet told well-wishers history was theirs to write, listing the achievements of his six-year premiership in the field of civil liberties, the economy, and social welfare. “Throughout this journey, Labour changed the political landscape of the country,” Muscat said. But the awareness of his own greatness – he won 10 elections in all, two general elections by vote majorities greater than 36,000 votes, unprecedented in history – was evident in the timbre of his tone. He could only end his speech with the same words with which he started his first speech to Labour delegates that first night he won the election as Labour leader in 2008: “I love you”.
On Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder, he said the assassination had brought big sorrow to him. “You may I ask if I have any disappointments, I have, and that is the Caruana Galizia murder, and I am truly sorry for what happened. Despite my grief, no one can truly understand the pain felt by her family,” Muscat said. Despite his disappointment, Muscat said that he was proud to have achieved a breakthrough in the case. “I paid a political price, and unlike others who talked much and solved nothing, we have achieved breakthroughs,” he said, a reference to previous political murders that have remained unsolved since the 1980s.
Muscat turned his political struggles in a battle between ‘love and hate’, saying he regretted having been unable to eliminate the curse of personal attacks in politics, propping up his family as an example of the victimisation inside Maltese politics. “I don’t call them politicians, I call them cruel people,” he said.
The environment was also a sector where Muscat said he felt he should have done better. “The kids of today, the ones we gave the vote to at 16, have the environment at heart and they speak about it in a way we cannot understood. We must stay ahead of that,” he said.
Times of Malta – ‘I will remain with you,’ Muscat pledges in final speech as PM
Outgoing prime minister Joseph Muscat gave his final farewell speech on Friday night, saying he would stay in Malta to encourage more civil rights reforms and work on the sports sector. “I will remain with you,” he said as applause drowned out his voice. Dr Muscat also indicated that he would remain in parliament as a backbench MP “for a little while longer”, though people could expect to see less of him in the days and months to come. Amidst tears and applause from the crowd that gathered in the Corradino Sports Pavilion, Dr Muscat gave his last goodbye to the Labour Party faithful telling them he was proud of what he had delivered, that he loved the Labour Party and Malta, and that while he had regrets, he was happy to have walked the road as prime minister.
Some had asked what would come next for him, he said. Dr Muscat said he wasn’t going anywhere, prompting a roar of applause. He would be working to usher in new social reforms, and to oversee a major sports-related project that would seek to lift Maltese athletes onto the world stage. “We have a lot more to do in the civil rights field. And without the weight of political office, I will be freer to speak my mind,” he said.
He admitted that the “flood” of emails he was used to receive had slowed to a trickle over the past weeks, as scandal took its toll on his government. “I realised who my real friends are,” he said. “But I heard from many people who gave me strength”.
He said Ms Caruana Galizia’s murder would continue to be the biggest regret of his time in office. “Her writing hurt me, but nothing can compare to what her family went through,” he said.
Malta Independent – Muscat’s last speech – ‘I took this step so that unity can win over hatred’
Outgoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Friday evening that he had taken the decision to step down so that “unity can win over hatred.” Muscat was delivering his last speech as PM and Labour Leader at a packed Corradino sports pavilion.On Saturday, around 17,000 PL members will be chosing his successor. The choice is between Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne and Labour MP Robert Abela. Muscat had announced his intention to resign in December, in the wake of the latest developments in the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. The movement, he said, removed the culture of division in the country. Those who want to take the country back to the times of division will not succeed, he said. “We will remain the movement of love and unity. Do not worry if they mock me. It does not matter. Our people have a bond that does not dissolve with jealousy and hate.” “My message for the future of the Labour Party and the movement is this; do not let division win over unity, do not let sadness win over happiness, do not let negativity win over positivity, or hate over love. This is why I am paying the highest political price, why I am addressing you as PM and PL leader for the last time.”
He said the new PL government was criticised for lacking experience. “But we made up for that with our enthusiasm. We removed unemployment and increased the minimum wage. We were told that the country faced a difficult future and were advised to increase taxes. But we were certain of one thing; that if we gave faith to the people and showed the right signals, the country would head towards success.” Muscat said he was proud that, in 2020, Malta would have the highest economic growth rate in the European Union. While other countries were registering a surplus for the first time, Malta has been registering a surplus every year since 2016.