Muscat working out his notice… reactions to the PM’s decision to stay on for 42 days

The ‘resignation’ was televised, but critics fear that Muscat at the helm right now vitiates the search for justice on people close to him, like Keith Schembri

Not quite gone...
Not quite gone...

Andre Callus, Moviment Graffitti

“His decision means that whatever result these investigations return on the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia and corruption cases, there will be the suspicion that the one in power did something so that truth does not emerge.

“He did not even recognise that his exit in January is tied to current events, but made it look like something casual and pre-planned, based on his promise not to do more than two legislatures.

“Muscat should have shouldered the responsibility of keeping Schembri, at the very least, for his illicit bond with Yorgen Fenech, and resign immediately. If this sewer has flooded his office, he cannot say he is clean.

“Muscat had the opportunity to resign and show he was not involved directly in the murder and corruption and let the truth out so that this story may not be remembered as a black stain. He lost this opportunity, because he will be suspected of having clung on to power to ensure the truth does not emerge.”

Mark Camilleri, chairman National Book Council

“We’ve entered a 42-day window of authoritarian rule, as approved by the majority of Labour MPs, and Muscat stays on in power. At the same time the mafia will re-entrench and we may lose the chance to decapitate it.”

Chamber of Advocates

“Accordingly, anyone in power and whose position is one of conflict due to relationships with anyone involved or named in the investigations which are underway, should make way to allow that process to take its course objectively credibly, and without any form of interference, whether real or perceived.

“In these extraordinary circumstances the position of the Prime Minister has become untenable. For the sake of the country’s reputation and credibility, the Prime Minister must resign. The time for that is now. Delaying the inevitable by a month will serve no useful purpose but seriously risks tainting the integrity and credibility of the investigative process.

“Any government has a structure that can, and should, be able to withstand the resignation of a prime minister. If the Prime Minister himself cannot fully appreciate or understand the importance of this, in the national interest, then it is incumbent upon his colleagues in cabinet and in Parliament to withdraw their support and to act in the national interest.”

Corinne Vella, Daphne Caruana Galizia’s sister

“As Malta and the world faces up to the reality that the Office of the Prime Minister had a hand in our mother and wife’s assassination and, for more than two years, sought to cover it up, Joseph Muscat has decided to delay his resignation as Prime Minister.

“He has done so despite the implication of Keith Schembri, his right-hand man, in the assassination of his most powerful critic.

“Muscat has delayed his resignation in an attempt to continue protecting himself and Schembri. There is no alternative explanation.

“His continued tenure as prime minister is intolerable to anyone who cares about justice. His role in the investigation into our wife and mother’s assassination is unlawful. Until he resigns, we will use all legal remedies to ensure Muscat has no further involvement in the investigation and criminal proceedings, other than as a possible suspect.”

David Zammit, lecturer, University of Malta, Faculty of Laws

“The basic problem with the Daphne murder investigation is that the Prime Minister should not be leading it or even acting as the official spokesperson for it; once somebody as close to him as his Chief of Staff (whom he defended for three years) has been fingered. He should never be associated with decisions such as whether or not to grant a pardon to Yorgen Fenech, whether to question or arraign Keith Schembri etc. Nothing of this basic situation has changed since he announced his resignation in a month’s time after all these decisions should have finally been taken. For all these reasons, he should leave his post NOW and not in a month’s time.”

Repubblika, civil society group

“Joseph Muscat is at the heart of the biggest scandal in Malta’s political history. But this is not the only reason why he must leave his office at the Auberge de Castille. He must leave Castille immediately because he has to be investigated. He has to get out in order that evidence against him can be safeguarded. 

“There is a reasonable and serious suspicion that at the very least, Joseph Muscat was, and still is involved in a cover up to free his friends from being charged with the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia. Due to this suspicion, there exists another reasonable suspicion that Joseph Muscat has to account for further direct and serious responsibilities in this matter. 

“Joseph Muscat must hand over the keys of his office in the Auberge de Castille to his Deputy Leader at once.

“The police are duty bound to  immediately ask for a magisterial inquiry in order for all evidence to be safeguarded. These should include the servers of all the email accounts held by Joseph Muscat, including, but not only, his official email account. 

“All material that might result as evidence must be urgently removed from Joseph Muscat’s house, where Keith Schembri spent the evening immediately before he was arrested.

“The fact that Joseph Muscat intends to stay in his office at Castille up to 12 January is a threat and an insult to the process of justice that Joseph Muscat has been perverting for the past three and a half years.”