Joseph Muscat announces his resignation after leadership contest to elect new leader by January 12th 2020 (Updated with reactions)

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Prime Minsiter Joseph Muscat announced that he will be stepping down from leader of the party and Prime Minister in January 2020.

The country should come first. As such in the coming days the process to replace him as a Prime Minister will be kicked off so that by January 12th the Partit Laburista will elect a new leader. He said he will stay on as Leader of the Party and Prime Minister until the new leader is elected.

In a televised speech to the nation, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that he promised that Daphne Caruana Galizia murder’s will be solved. “I kept my word. Not only we have three persons who are accused with the murder. We also have one person who allegedly is the one who commissioned the murder. He explained that the Police Commissioner and the Attorney General, like the Caruana Galizia family were against the granting of a pardon the one who allegedly commissioned the murder. Despite the threats, he refused. 

He said that he will see that justice is done.

In his speech he said that he also took the decision in the best interest of the country. The last two years, most of the decisions had to be taken alone.  He added that sadness and anger for this murder are justified. No one should justify the murder. At the same time there should not be justification to any violence under the name of protest. I look forward that this chapter gets closed but not forgotten.

In his speech the Prime Minister referred to all what was delivered by the goverment led by him.

The Times reviews the highs and lows of Muscat’s tenure. 

 

Reactions

Following the announcement of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s resignation as of January 2020, Opposition leader Adrian Delia insisted that the country cannot go another day with Muscat as its leader.

In a tweet, Adrian Delia said that Muscat should have resigned long ago. He insisted that with every day that Muscat remains in office, justice will remain something unachievable. Delia expressed that Muscat has lost all his credibility.

“Muscat did not understand anything,” Delia said, in a television interview shortly after Muscat announced that a new Labour leader will be chosen on 12 January.  As of Monday, the Opposition will not participate in any activities in which Joseph Muscat is acting as Prime Minister, Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said on Sunday evening.

The Chamber of Advocates in a statement said that “In these extraordinary circumstances the position of the Prime Minister has become untenable. For the sake of the country’s reputation and credibility, the Prime Minister must resign. The time for that is now. Delaying the inevitable by a month will serve no useful purpose but seriously risks tainting the integrity and credibility of the investigative process.

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s son Matthew posted a brief reaction on Twitter, promising that “people will be out in the streets again tomorrow”.

Former PN leader Simon Busuttil described the Prime Minister’s decision as “unacceptable” and insisted he should resign at once “He must not be allowed to continue using his position to obstruct justice and avoid being investigated,” Dr Busuttil said. “He has played this game for far too long already.”

Rule of Law NGO Repubblika reacted to the announced eventual resignation of the Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and insisted that he needs to resign with immediate effect. Civil society group Repubblika, which has led sustained protests against the Prime Minister over the last two weeks, said the delayed resignation represented “a threat and an insult to the process of justice that Joseph Muscat has been perverting for the past three and a half years”.

National Book Council chairman Mark Camilleri, a Labour Party exponent who has been a vocal critic of the government’s handling of recent developments, said the decision had created “a 42-day window of authoritarian rule as approved by the majority of Labour MPs”. “At the same time the mafia will re-entrench and we may lose the chance to decapitate it,” he added.

There was high expectation for this address to the nation, which is understood to have been recorded in the past hours (cont…)

 

This address followed a meeting of the parliamentary group which took place on Sunday morning in Girgenti.

Labour MPs were called for a meeting at the prime minister’s summer residence in Girgenti on Sunday morning to discuss Dr Muscat’s expected departure as prime minister.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the PL parliamentary group said it expressed its unanimous support for the Prime Minister in all decisions he would be taking and reaffirmed its confidence in him.

Earlier today, several thousand protestors gathered in Valletta on Sunday afternoon calling for the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to ensure justice for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.  The chanting was punctuated from time to time by applause from bystanders watching from the sides. The Labour Party club in Republic Street shut its balcony windows as protestors passed by.

Reports on the protest can be accessed here:

Times of Malta / Newsbook/ TVM / Malta Independent  / MaltaToday / NET News 

 Developing Story 

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