[WATCH] Muscat quashes rumours of early departure

A week after reiterating he would not be contesting another general election, Joseph Muscat told Labour Party supporters that he would not be stopping half way

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has poured cold water on rumours he will be resigning his post early, insisting he would not be stopping half way and that he was focused on leading the party into the European Parliament elections in 2019.

Addressing party faithful in Qormi, Muscat said that following comments he made last week, where he said that he had not changed his mind on not contesting another general election, he was moved by the response he had received from people.

Muscat has always insisted that his plan was to spend five years in Opposition and ten years in government.

“I have been in politics since 1992, and have been on the front line for ten years now,” said Muscat, insisting that he had always done what was necessary for the Labour Party. "When you asked me to go to the European Parliament, I did, and when you asked me to come and lead the Labour Party, I did that."

“From the first day we told you what our plan was, and there is still a lot more to do. We have a lot more to do together. You have not stopped half way and I will not stop half way.” 

He said the party needed to continue looking forward and to creating wealth.

“Our focus is, and I am speaking as leader of the Labour Party here, to continue moving forward next year to the European Parliament elections,” said Muscat.

He insisted that he would continue working for Malta to be ready for the next generation.

Muscat said that over the years the Labour Party had changed into a movement with a forward-looking mentality, which was about more than just himself.

“It is a mentality that is here to stay, and the legacy of which will be big once the Opposition starts to emulate it,” he said.

“We look forward to the day the Opposition starts to copy this style of leadership.”

Over the course of his address, Muscat stressed that his administration had differed from past governments in that it was a government that led the country, rather than administered it.

He said that while administering a country meant sitting back and reacting to different circumstances but to lead meant “leading your comfort zone to brining employment and solve problems”.

Leading, he said, meant coming up with ideas that “others wouldn’t dream of”.

“We are here to lead the country with clear ideas,” said Muscat, insisting that while the government was open to criticism, it was also worth nothing that “the majority of the country was not impressed by the pantomimes of some”.  

“The nation wants tranquillity, serenity, and a government that works,” said Muscat.

He said the Labour Party knew what being in the OPpositon meant and had learnt that being overly critical meant people would not vote for you.

Turning to the IIP scheme, Muscat said that while the government had faced criticism, he was convinced that Malta was being attacked because of internal politics and because Malta’s scheme was the best one in the world. “And it is going to become better.”He said the government’s approach, of leading rather than administering meant taking risks, albeit calculated risks.

It was only in this way, said Muscat, that the country could be first in identifying new economic opportunities, as it was doing with medicinal cannabis and distributed ledger technologies.

On Air Malta, he said that after stabilising the airline, it would soon be announcing the opening of two new routes, between London and Sicily and Sardinia.

“In this way, we will truly become the airline of the Mediterranean,” said Muscat.

The Prime Minister also touched upon the healthcare sector, where he said the use of public-private partnerships would allow the country to have three new hospitals.  On Mount Carmel hospital, Muscat said that criticism was justified, but noted that the hospital had been allowed to fall into disrepair long before the Labour Party came to power.

He said that during the past week, there had been an important announcement regarding Hepatitis C treatment, where it was announced that the government would be offering treatment to patients for free.

He explained that in the past, not much could be done to treat the disease, but recent pharmaceutical advancements had not made this possible, albeit at a very high cost.

The government, said Muscat, had negotiated a price with a supplied, and was now in a position to offer this treatment for free and by 2025, become the first country in the world to eradicate the disease.

“This is what makes us proud of the fact that we are leading not administering,” said Muscat. “Others used to have problems stocking up on blood pressure medicines.”

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