Malta close to a standstill as drama unfolds in parliament, court and on the streets

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Employers have expressed their concern about the present political situation that has brought the country “close to a standstill” and have requested a meeting with President George Vella over the current state of affairs.

Angry protesters blocked MPs from leaving parliament during a demonstration demanding the immediate resignation of outgoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Tension, scuffles and shake of hands

In a sign of the tension, Labour MP Clifton Grima and Nationalist MP Karol Aqulina began shoving each other. They were quickly separated by people surrounding the two men, before shaking hands afterwards. Protesters blocked one of the exits, trapping MPs for about two hours behind the barricades between Freedom Square and Ordnance Street, The Times reports.  MP Clifton Grima said that he intervened to diffuse provocation. 

Newsbook journalist confronted by Ministry staff, NET News by supporters, IGM reacts journalist tried to get comments from the exiting MPs, ministry staff confronted the journalist and had to be restrained by the police. The management of condemned the angry confrontation, adding that the journlist was doing her duty as is the norm in a democratic society. Net News journalists were also attacked in front of the Labour Party HQ by some supporters. the IGM condemned the attacks on journalists. 

Labour Supporters gather in front of Party HQ

In a show of force organised through word of mouth, supporters of the Partit Laburista gathered outside the Centru Nazzjonali Laburista. While many PL supporters gathered around the PL HQ, PL MPs and government ministers were under siege inside Parliament, as protesters yelled from behind barricades, angry at the current situation in the country. They eventually managed to leave Parliament as protesters moved to Castille. Labour supporters at the PL HQ were chanting “viva l-Labour,” “Joseph, Joseph, Joseph,” and other chant, The Malta Independent reports.

Nationalist Party MPs walk out of Parliament

Earlier, Nationalist Party MPs have walked out of Parliament in protest with Opposition leader Adrian Delia saying that they will continue doing so until Joseph Muscat quits. Delia said that as long as the Prime Minister remained in office, he would be an obstruction to the investigations surrounding the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder, MaltaToday reports.

PM’s last speech in Parliament

In what he referred to as his last speech in Parliament as Prime Minister, Dr Joseph Muscat described the last seven years as a beautiful experience. “As Prime Minister, it was an adventure – I often had regrets, but it was a beautiful adventure, and I am proud to have represented the country. This is not my farewell speech, but rather, my last intervention in Parliament.” In a Ministerial statement, Dr Muscat stated that from this point until a new Prime Minister is appointed, he will not be making any major decisions. Dr Muscat added that he had been contemplating about when to resign, adding that he regretted having to resign in this manner. At the start of his address, Dr Muscat gave details about the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, saying the FBI involvement had been important as previous bomb explosions had not been solved, TVM reports.

Caruana Galizia’s Family calls for PM’s investigation

The family of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has called for the prime minister and his actions to be investigated and for related evidence to be preserved as part of the ongoing investigation.

Middleman’s letter

Meanwhile Newsbook reports that is reliably informed of the existence of two  copies of a letter written by Melvin Theuma, the middleman of the plot to assasinate Daphne Caruana Galizia as a precaution in case he was murdered. Along with the letter, Theuma also depsited a copy of the tapes he had recorded. Keith Schembri is mentioned in that letter along with others; all this in the context of the assasination of the Maltese journalist. Schembri’s name also features in the tapes. Schembri, the disgraced former Chief of Staff and best friend of Prime Minister Muscat denies any wrongdoing. He was arrested by the police but later released as the police felt that there was nothing left to investigate.

Vince Muscat requests Presidential Pardon 

Vincent Muscat, one of the three men accused of the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, has written to the President of the Republic asking for a pardon in return for “all the information he knows on various facts,” and hinting that former OPM Chief of Staff Keith Schembri had been decisive in the failure of an earlier pardon attempt. Muscat, who is currently being detained at the Corradino Correctional Facility, wrote to President George Vella today through his lawyer Marc Sant, with a formal request that he exercise what is known in legal circles as “the prerogative of mercy,” subject to Muscat providing all the information he knows on various facts.

Accused claims breach of law when request for presidential pardon was refused

Owner of the Dubai company 17 Black Yorgen Fenech who is currently in custody facing charges of financing the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, has filed an application before the Court against the Cabinet, claiming that a breach in the law when his request for presidential pardon in exchange of information was refused.

Ġieħ ir-Repubblika to the Caruana Galizia Family

LovinMalta says that despite everything, despite the powers that be standing in the way of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family way, full justice is nearer at hand than it has ever been. It adds that this is an example of true patriotism. Patriotism isn’t about attacking the most vulnerable in society, it’s about defending your country to the hilt, even against its own government if needs be. The Ġieħ ir-Repubblika for services to the nation is the absolute least these heroes deserve; Malta is truly in their debt.

Labour Party Elections

Meanwhile, Labour Party delegates will get the first say in the leadership contest when they vote on 7 January to whittle down the field to two. It will be the party members who will eventually choose the new leader from the top two candidates in an election that will be held on 11 January.

Country close to a standstill

Employers have expressed their concern about the present political situation that has brought the country “close to a standstill” and have requested a meeting with President George Vella over the current state of affairs.  In a statement, the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development said its members, who include employers, unions and civil society, have asked the council to suspend its work to urgently discuss the crisis and its serious repercussions on the economy, business and jobs.  The social partners voiced their concerns that the political crisis and the developments related to the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have created an atmosphere of unrest and uncertainty amongst the Maltese society.

via BeInformed, – CiConsulta’s Media Monitoring Service 

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