Castille in sombre mood, as Muscat tells aides he plans to step down

Muscat is under pressure from ministers and party activists to remove Schembri and Mizzi, although there has been no direct challenge yet to bring Muscat to purge the two men from government

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has told aides he will resign once he sees a prosecution in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.

The Maltese prime minister has been at the helm since 2013 and has more than one time stated in public he would not stay on as PM beyond a 10-year period.

Sources said Muscat would be planning for an exit in 2020, by which time it would be hoped that some form of closure is achieved on the Caruana Galizia murder investigation.

Government sources yesterday described the sombre mood among Labour top brass after the arrest of Yorgen Fenech and the 17 Black association brought the Caruana Galizia murder investigation too close to Labour for comfort.

MaltaToday was told that Muscat had told aides he would not be taking any decision about Keith Schembri, his chief-of-staff and architect of Labour’s electoral campaigns, and minister Konrad Mizzi “until the case is closed”.

But this newspaper was told that Muscat is under pressure from ministers and party activists to remove Schembri and Mizzi, although there has been no direct challenge yet to bring Muscat to purge the two men from government.

As he repeated oftentimes in the House of Representatives, Muscat also told his aides he had no problem in resigning his post.

But some ministers think Muscat is mulling over the possibility of holding an early election in 2020: if true, such a drastic move could consolidate Muscat’s hold on power at a time when he should be making important concessions to a public that has demanded the heads of Schembri and Mizzi.

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