[WATCH] Busuttil to present no confidence motion against government

Opposition says it will present motion of no confidence against Labour government • Government proposes debating motion next week

Simon Busuttil convened his parliamentary group to announce the no confidence motion
Simon Busuttil convened his parliamentary group to announce the no confidence motion
Busuttil to present no confidence motion against government

Opposition leader Simon Busuttil has announced he will move for a no confidence in government in the wake of revelations from the Panama Papers leak, which has embroiled energy minister Konrad Mizzi and the prime minister's chief of staff Keith Schembri. In response, the government said that it noted the PN's motion and it proposed discussing the motion from next week.

The Nationalist Party says both men should resign for having opened two offshore companies in Panama, which were owned by the same trustees running their offshore trusts in New Zealand.

Speaking at a press conference which was attended by a large number of PN MPs, Busuttil further called for the resignation of prime minister Joseph Muscat, saying that this is the only route possible for the country to achieve some sort of stability in the wake of the revelations.

On Sunday Busuttil will lead a demonstration outside the Office of the Prime Minister calling for the sacking of Mizzi, who is Labour deputy leader for party affairs, and Schembri, the PM's closest aide.

“We have relentlessly called on the Prime Minister to shoulder responsibility and we will continue to do so,” he said in reference to the demonstration, which he stressed, is open to anyone who hopes to see a change in the country’s leadership, regardless of their political creed.

This is the first such motion that Busuttil has announced against the Labour government, which has an eight-seat majority.

Busuttil said the corruption crisis had turned into a political crisis and in reference to the tax audit being carried out on Mizzi and Schembri, the PN leader said “no false investigation will alter the facts.”

Describing the Panama Papers leak as “the straw that broke the camel's back” the PN leader said that shock towards Mizzi and Schembri had turned onto extreme anger.

 “In other countries, this was followed by resignation, but Prime Minister Joseph Muscat continues to defend them,” he said.

Busuttil stressed that this stance was an insult to people's intelligence.

“Muscat is as culpable as Schembri and Mizzi, if not more so,” he said, adding that they were his most trusted men.

“The suspicion now is that Muscat is defending them because he is involved with them,” he said.

Busuttil said that the motion of no confidence was being presented not because the country needs to hold snap elections but because Muscat’s government is incapable of governing the country.

“Our country cannot afford to have a rudderless government for another two years  and only government’s resignation will appease the country and bring stability again.”

Asked whether it would be enough for Mizzi and Schembri to resign, Busuttil said that “ at this point, our country needs the normality it has already lost,” stressing that this was only possible if Muscat resigned himself.

Busuttil added that although numbers were against the party in parliament, the PN was confident that the situation was so dire that some government MPs will back the motion.

Busuttil further stressed that the public was furious and that the country was being watched by the rest of the world.

“These countries are seeking to discover whether we are an advanced nation or a banana republic,” Busuttil said, stressing that the scandal would have ramifications on the county’s reputation particularly in the run up to the EU presidency in 2017.

Busuttil also emphasised that the scandal would have ramifications on the financial services sector, which is key to the country’s economy, and which employs many in the country.