Updated 3 | 'Malta is a democracy, the law must be respected by everyone' – President

President holds meetings with Prime Minister and Opposition leader, after Busuttil’s request to Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca to urge Muscat to step down

After seeking advice from her constitutional advisors on Saturday, President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca calls in Prime Minister and Opposition leader
After seeking advice from her constitutional advisors on Saturday, President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca calls in Prime Minister and Opposition leader

President of the Republic Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca has requested separate meetings with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Opposition leader Simon Busuttil. The meetings took place this morning at San Anton Palace in Attard, where reporters gathered outside.

In a statement issued on Monday, the President said that she called the meetings following advice from her constitutional advisors.

“I have been following closely what happened throughout last week and after seeking advice from my constitutional advisors on Saturday, I have called in both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.”

Coleiro Preca said that she would exercise her powers, added that she would not be commenting on the matter in order to allow the institutions to “do their work.”

“As I have already stated several times, the powers of the President of Malta are constrained by the Constitution itself, and I will exercise those few powers given to me. At this stage I will not be making any further statements on the matter to allow the independent institutions to do their work.”

“Malta is a democracy and the law is to be observed by everyone,” she added.

In a tweet, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he was in agreement with the President: "Institutions must be respected and allowed to do their job. Nobody is above the law."

Earlier, Muscat reiterated his innocence as he told reporters that he was “still awaiting for the allegations to be sustained”.

MaltaToday this morning asked Muscat whether he had seen the report compiled by the FIAU over its investigation into the Panama Papers revelations, that included his chief of staff, Keith Schembri and minister Konrad Mizzi.

“I do not interfere with the work of institutions who carry out their work independently. I trust the courts and I hope that those who have made the accusations can sustain them.”

Muscat did not confirm or deny whether he had seen the FIAU report.

The meetings follow a request by the PN leader, who has urged the President to use her “moral authority” and urge Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to resign amidst allegations that offshore Panamanian company, Egrant, is owned by his wife.

Busuttil, who yesterday drew thousands of supporters to a political demonstration in Valletta, acknowledged that the President of the Republic doesn’t hold the legal power to force a prime minister to resign.

“I know that the President does not have the legal power to remove the Prime Minister but she has the moral authority to ask him to resign,” he told the crowd.

The Prime Minister has asked for a magisterial inquiry to be launched over the allegations levelled against him – an inquiry that the PN is now described as “a cover-up”.

Joseph Muscat and Michelle Muscat have both appeared before inquiring magistrate Aaron Bugeja. On Sunday, Muscat told the party faithful gathered at the Labour Party’s headquarters that he was telling the truth.

Using former Nationalist Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami’s rallying cry, Muscat said that what is “right will prevail” [is-sewwa jirbah zgur].

“I have nothing to fear,” Muscat said, as he reminded that the only evidence provided by Simon Busuttil was a photograph of a luggage.

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