Muscat tells PL executive he might not appoint new ministers

Joseph Muscat might not appoint new ministers to take over the tourism and economy portfolios, and instead integrate the vacant posts into the workload of current ministers

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat

Joseph Muscat might not appoint new ministers to take over the tourism and economy portfolios, and instead integrate the vacant posts into the workload of current ministers.

The suggestion was made at a meeting of the Labour Party’s executive, in which the embattled Prime Minister received the unanimous support of the party executive.

Muscat’s administration has been rocked by the arrest of his chief of staff Keith Schembri, who resigned soon after Tumas magnate Yorgen Fenech was arrested as a person of interest in the investigation on the Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination.

The resignation was followed by those of tourism minister Konrad Mizzi, and economy minister Chris Cardona.

A party source told MaltaToday that Muscat told the executive he would not appoint any new ministers until the conclusion of the police investigation. “He is in no mood for a reshuffle and he could relegate tourism to one of the current ministries.”

Another source who spoke to MaltaToday claimed the mood inside the PL executive was upbeat. “The removal of Schembri and Mizzi seems to have liberated a certain part of the executive.”

1:39pm MaltaToday previously reported incorrectly that former deputy prime minister Louis Grech attended the meeting. He did not.

Labour is expected to see jostling from leadership candidates like deputy prime minister Chris Fearne, and transport and planning minister Ian Borg as Muscat’s intentions to move out edge ever more closer.

Labour MEP Miriam Dalli, also tipped to be a possible future contender, was present at an earlier parliamentary group meeting on Monday.

Former Prime Minister and Labour MEP Alfred Sant today said he was reserving judgment about the party’s resignations, saying people need all the facts before they can pass judgement. “We need all the facts to emerge, whatever they are, before we can judge,” he wrote on Facebook, in his first public comment since two ministers and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff were forced out on Tuesday.

“I’m convinced that judgement and the path it leads us down will be in line with the ‘old’ Labour cry that remains relevant today – ‘Malta first and foremost’.” 

“This is not the first time that the Labour Party had to face big problems or crises,” the former PL leader wrote on Facebook. “Each time, the party has emerged even stronger”.

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