Prime Minister to announce resignation and kick-start leadership race

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will formally step down after a new Labour leader is elected

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is expected to announce his resignation soon
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is expected to announce his resignation soon

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will announce he is stepping down from office in the coming hours.

MaltaToday is informed that Muscat will officially step down when a new Labour Party leader is elected in the coming weeks. He will remain prime minister until then.

It will mean Malta could be expected to have a new prime minister in the New Year.

His decision will come following a political crisis in Malta triggered by events surrounding the investigation into Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder.

The decision also follows yesterday's stormy Cabinet meeting that refused a pardon for Yorgen Fenech.

High-ranking Labour Party officials are said to have spoken to Muscat about the political crisis this morning, spelling out their concerns of how things were developing.

Meanwhile, the PL has cancelled Sunday's mass activity in Fgura.

Earlier in the day, the Caruana Galizia family called for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to step aside and resign. 

In a statement released on Friday, the family said it shared Malta’s shock and anger at the release of Keith Schembri, Muscat’s “close personal friend” and chief of staff.

“At least two witnesses and multiple pieces of physical evidence implicate Schembri in the assassination of our wife and mother,” the family said. They reiterated that Yorgen Fenech does not need a presidential pardon for the police to charge Schembri. 

“A prolific criminal, connected to multiple bribery and money laundering schemes, Schembri is now a free man, facing no prospect of prosecution for any of his crimes. We are dismayed to see Schembri was released under the watch of the prime minister, who continues to play judge jury and executioner in the assassination investigation that so far implicates three of his closest colleagues.”

The family said that it was a travesty of justice that is shamming Malta and “ripping our society apart.” They said the situation can no longer continue.

“We urge the prime minister to step aside and let an unconflicted deputy take over. If the prime minister has the interests of justice and Malta at heart, then he should do so immediately. Our country is more important than his career.”