Marlene Farrugia will support no-confidence vote against Mizzi
Farrugia: “If the Opposition fails to present such a motion, I myself, will present a motion of confidence in Konrad Mizzi and the government”
28 February 2016, 8:37pm
Speaking to MaltaToday in the wake of revelations on an offshore company in Panama that energy minister Konrad Mizzi has admitted setting up, Farrugia – today an independent MP – insisted that if the Opposition fails to present such a motion, she will present a motion of no-confidence against Mizzi and the Joseph Muscat’s government.
“If this attitude persists, I will be constrained to vote in favour of a no-confidence motion in the government if presented by the Opposition,” Farrugia said.
Earlier Sunday at 10am, Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said he would give Muscat 24 hours to shoulder political responsibility over news that both Mizzi and the PM’s chief of staff Keith Schembri had set up a similar offshore network.
Despite Busuttil not expressly mentioning a parliamentary move, Farrugia insisted that if the Opposition failed to act, she, herself, would present a motion of no-confidence.
“If the Opposition fails to present such a motion, I myself, will present a motion of confidence in Konrad Mizzi and the government, as led by the prime minister,” Farrugia told MaltaToday.
Muscat on Sunday brushed off the challenge to take political responsibility and stood by Mizzi, saying he found no problem with his new deputy leader as the settlor of an offshore trust in New Zealand, which is run by trustees that also own his company in Panama.
Muscat’s defence of Mizzi was subsequently branded as “completely unacceptable” by the Opposition, and in a similar scathing rhetoric, Farrugia accused the prime minister of downplaying the significance of the revelations.
“I am still waiting and hoping for a proper reaction and action from the Prime Minister. So far, Muscat has shrugged the serious revelations aside, even going as far as downplaying their significance,” Farrugia said.
Farrugia, who before her resignation from the Labour Party in November frequently spoke out against the government, also took umbrage at the government’s “endless string of scandals” and said that this is not the government that the people had voted for.
“The endless string of scandals that has and is plaguing this government is progressively denuding it of its ability to command the respect and authority it needs to go on governing,” she told MaltaToday.
The MP also said that former ministers Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Godfrey Farrugia, and Michael Falzon were removed from the Cabinet because they “are known to be incorruptible, and since they were obviously in the way, they had to be removed.”
Falzon resigned after being found by an IAID and NAO audit of having rubber-stamped an irregular €1.65 million expropriation of a Valletta building partly owned by property developer Marco Gaffarena.
Earlier on Facebook, the MP hit out at the government, saying the Labour Party had been hijacked “and the Labour movement was left speechless”.
And judging by the tone of her comments on Facebook, it now appears that the revelations on Konrad Mizzi and the prime minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri – coupled with the former’s election as the party’s new deputy leader – were the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“A minister and the prime minister’s chief of staff gave Malta’s financial services a vote of no-confidence, and to add insult to injury, they vested their financial interests in Panama – a country which is blacklisted by the European Union,” Farrugia said.
“My trust in this government is long gone, but I have complete trust in the country. This is not the government that we voted for. Just as we elected [Muscat], we can bring him down.”
Daniel Mizzi reports from the law courts.
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