Muscat: PN ignored its own warnings on poison-pen blog association

Joseph Muscat on Egrant allegation: ‘The lessons the Maltese people have taught us are that they do not reward negativity’

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Matthew Vella
6 June 2017, 9:14pm
File photo shows Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Michelle Muscat cast their vote (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
File photo shows Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Michelle Muscat cast their vote (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat gave his own dissection of the discordant relationship with Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, saying his adversary had tied the fate of his party to that of Daphne Caruana Galizia by taking ownership of an allegation that his wife was the owner of a secret offshore company.

The Egrant claim precipitated a magisterial inquiry that is still ongoing and led Muscat to call a snap election, claiming that Busuttil was sowing instability in the country.

“He took his people out on a national protest on the strength of a lie, and made an appeal to the forces of law and order to take some sort of action against me, or carry out an act of disobedience… there were moments where my wife and I were listening to a lie that was intended at destroying my career and bringing instability in the country,” Muscat said on One TV’s Arena.

The Labour leader also said that he knew Busuttil had told a dinner guest of the allegation, that the party had documents showing Michelle Muscat was the owner of the Panama company Egrant.

“At first we laughed about it, but when we saw it published in the blog, Busuttil’s solemn press conference, and the protest… even a Mosta PN club billboard with my wife and I behind bars, where at that point my children began asking what they will do if we go to prison. These were stressful moments.”

Muscat said he put his head on the block by calling for a magisterial inquiry, a move which he feels was noted as a genuine action by voters.

“They chose wisely. The lessons the Maltese people have taught us are that they do not reward negativity, and they are not ready to be led by the nose,” Muscat said.

Muscat was also clear about the PN’s seduction by Malta Independent columnist Daphne Caruana Galizia, describing her actions as a deliberate conflation of lies with a speck of truth.

“We now expect a reasonable opposition, not some other electoral loss report to let them know that it should not be used as a prop for Caruana Galizia,” he said, referring to the 2013 report penned by Ann Fenech, Rosette Thake (now former PN administrative council president and secretary-general) and Mary Anne Lauri, the former University pro-rector who lent her face to PN billboards this year: that report had clearly referred to “sympathisers writing in their own blogs... whom the PN should have repeatedly disassociated itself from when such blogs dealt with comments of a personal nature”, without expressly mentioning Caruana Galizia.

“If Busuttil’s successor keeps up the same tactic, the same electoral result will be brought upon them,” Muscat said.

 

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Matthew Vella is executive editor at MaltaToday.