PM silences rumours: ‘I will not resign before, during nor after the Budget’

Joseph Muscat says his only concern is to ensure the measures of the upcoming Budget are put into effect

Joseph Muscat was speaking during a recorded interview on One Radio
Joseph Muscat was speaking during a recorded interview on One Radio

The Prime Minister has dismissed rumours that he will be leaving his post after October’s Budget, saying that he would be staying on to ensure budgetary measures are implemented.

Rumours have grained traction in the media in the past weeks that Joseph Muscat - who had said he would resign before the next election - was planning to step down after the next Budget, but the Prime Minister clearly said on Sunday during a recorded interview on One Radio that he would stay on.

“Let me be very clear: I have no intention of resigning before, during, nor after the next Budget,” Muscat said.

“The budget is so important not when it is devised, but also [in terms] of it being implemented. My only concern is to do the work which is needed in the coming months to keep pushing Malta higher,” he emphasised.

MaltaToday reported today that Muscat had told ministers vying for his job, in no uncertain terms, to tone down their leadership campaigning.

Sources close to the government told this newspaper that Muscat spoke to his deputy Chris Fearne, Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg and Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi after they had ramped up their personal campaign over the summer months.

Opposition doesn’t know what it stands for

The interview touched upon on various other subjects, including the rent reform, with the Prime Minister saying that the Opposition’s recent comments against the proposed new laws - after it had previously backed them - showed that it doesn’t know where it stands.

“I can’t understand how, after the White Paper, the consultation process and all the discussions, the Opposition first seemed to be in agreement [with the rent Bill], but, all of a sudden - because there was a lack of agreement on the proposed laws by the Chamber of Commerce and the Malta Developers’ Association - it has come out against them,” Muscat said.

“Because the Opposition saw them [the Chamber and MDA] criticise the new laws, since they were defending the interests of their members, it decided to itself come out against the proposed reform.”

“This shows the Opposition has the biggest problem - it doesn’t know what it stands for, it doesn’t know what its principles are,” he underlined, “Our principles are clear - we are pro-business.”

Muscat also said that claims that the new laws would allow Housing Authority officials to “come knocking on your door” and carry out a search were untrue.

“The provisions say that the tenant must be notified 24 hours before any [officials] come to check the conditions of the property, and that anyone checking has to be accompanied by the police,” he said.

Historical portfolio for Helena Dalli

On the nomination of Helena Dalli to the role of European Commissioner, Muscat said the former Equality Minister’s role would be the first of its kind in the history of the Commission.

“Helena will be the first European Commissioner for Equality, a historical development, and one of the most visible and politically onerous portfolios ever assigned to a Maltese commissioner,” Muscat said.

The Prime Minister added that he “laughed” at those who tried to make it seem like Dalli’s wouldn’t be an important portfolio. “This shows they don’t really believe in equality,” he said.

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