Election Playbook – Charges and resignations

A high-profile resignation and charges abound – we look back at week two of the election campaign

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Vitals, Steward, Fearne: Let’s try to round things up in under 100 words. Former PM Joseph Muscat is going to be accused of bribery and corruption over the sale of three public hospitals to a company with no experience in healthcare. And it’s not just him – Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi are being charged with similar crimes. Chris Fearne is being charged with defrauding the government and misappropriation of funds. Pending these charges, he has stepped down as deputy prime minister. There are other public officials being charged that are yet to resign.

Ewropej 2024: MaltaToday and Lovin Malta have joined forces to host a series of debates in the run-up to the European election. This week we held a debate at MCAST and were joined by Thomas Bajada (PL), Louise Ann Pulis (PN), Sandra Gauci (ADPD), and Conrad Borg Manche (Independent). To read a full report of the debate, you can click here. Next week, we will be holding another debate at the Mosta Rotunda, and we will be joined by Steve Ellul (PL), Lee Bugeja Bartolo (PN), Ralph Cassar (ADPD), Matthias Iannis Portelli (Volt), Simon Mercieca (Independent).

Politico readers quizzed on Malta: Joseph Muscat’s corruption charges have made international headlines, but also quizzes! Politico publish a weekly news quiz on the EU election to test how closely their readers have been following the campaign trail. This week, their readers were quizzed on Joseph Muscat and the Vitals scandal. The question: “Joseph Muscat […] was charged in connection with a privatization scandal involving what kind of property?”. The answers: schools, nightclubs, government buildings, hospitals. We’re assuming you know the answer. If not, you need to read more of our Election Playbook :)

OSCE: In 2022, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE for short) issued an expert report on Malta’s general election. In this report, the OSCE said that tax refund and stimulus cheques distributed by the government during the election campaign did not conform to international standards and good practice. This year, it looks like the OSCE will again scrutinise the cheques and their timing. The organisation told Times of Malta that it will be sending analysts to Malta who will look into this and “other issues key to the election”.

Volt Malta manifesto: This week, the pan-European party Volt launched its manifesto across Europe. The party’s only Maltese candidate, Matthias Iannis Portelli, said the party is pledging stronger rights for the LGBTQIA+ community, sexual and reproductive health rights, and the creation of a European Basic Income. Volt also wants to establish a protected right to be offline outside of working hours and require employers to accept the request for remote work from employees if it’s possible to do the job remotely. In case you didn’t know, Volt is running for the European Parliament elections with the same programme and name in over a dozen countries.

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This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The action was co-financed by the European Union in the frame of the European Parliament's grant programme in the field of communication. The European Parliament was not involved in its preparation and is, in no case, responsible for or bound by the information or opinions expressed in the context of this action. In accordance with applicable law, the authors, interviewed people, publishers or programme broadcasters are solely responsible. The European Parliament can also not be held liable for direct or indirect damage that may result from the implementation of the action.

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