Update 2 | PN wants House to convene tonight, demands Prime Minister’s resignation

PN requests urgent House sitting, but government says no motion was included in request • Chris Fearne says government is ready to have full debate once police concludes investigations

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia
Opposition Leader Adrian Delia

Updated at 5pm with government statement

The Nationalist Party has requested that the Maltese parliament meets today Saturday as a matter of urgency to discuss the national situation.

The statement comes after the PN parliamentary group met this afternoon following reports that former Tumas CEO Yorgen Fenech had requested a presidential pardon in conjunction with investigations by police in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder.

In a statement, PN leader Adrian Delia said Malta was facing an unprecedented constitutional and institutional crisis, pointing his finger at government high officials who had failed to uphold the law.

The PN also said in its statement that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had to resign in the wake of the arrest of Yorgen Fenech, the owner of the Dubai company 17 Black, wchih was listed as a “target client” for the secretive Panama companies opened by Muscat’s chief of staff Keith Schembri and tourism minister Konrad Mizzi.

“Ongoing investigations must be free of any vitiation. This risk exists because persons, including the Prime Minister, involved in the conduct of these investigations could be close to persons of interest in the same investigations.

“Muscat has lost every moral authority to lead the country and has for years evaded his political responsibilities, but now with every minute that passes Muscat has little space for manoeuvre. Our country is suffering the consequence of corrupt and criminal behaviour of people close to the prime minister, people the prime minister has continued to protect to this day.”

Government statement

The government has accused the Opposition of being in a state of “confusion” following its request for an urgent parliamentary sitting.

“The Opposition first says the Prime Minister should not speak on the case and then it wants Parliament to reconvene urgently to discuss the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia,” the government said.

The statement was referring to criticism that has been levelled towards Joseph Muscat by Opposition leader Adrian Delia and others for briefing the media on developments in the murder investigation, accusing him of acting as police commissioner.

The government said the request was coming from an Opposition that earlier this week, walked out of Parliament instead of fulfilling its duty.

“The Opposition does well to allow the institutions it has long criticised as not doing their work, to continue fulfilling their duries as they are doing,” the government said.

In a reply communicated to the Speaker of the House, deputy prime minister and leader of the House Chris Fearne said the Opposition’s request included no motion as to the subject that had to be discussed.

“On the government’s side, while one appreciates the seriousness of the situation, I repeat what the Prime Minister told the House of Representatives on Wednesday, 20 November, that the government will be holding a full discussion on the matter once the police concludes its work, and this to ensure that at such a delicate stage nothing can make this important investigation falter.”

PN reaction

The PN responded to the government statement saying it had noted “the state of panic and fear of truth” the government was facing, and that Saturday's developments, with economy minister Chris Cardona being called in for questioning, although not under caution, underscored the need to convene Parliament urgently.