Delia renews call for President and government MPs to remove Prime Minister after shocking court testimony

Opposition leader says President is empowered by Constitution to trigger process for Joseph Muscat’s removal after police inspector tells court Keith Schembri is being investigated for homicide

Opposition leader Adrian Delia made his appeal to the President and government MPs during an address on Net News on Thursday evening
Opposition leader Adrian Delia made his appeal to the President and government MPs during an address on Net News on Thursday evening

Adrian Delia has called on the President, the Deputy Prime Minister and government MPs to remove Joseph Muscat from power in light of revelations in court today that Keith Schembri is being investigated for homicide.

The Opposition leader said President George Vella should use his power under the Constitution to start the process for Muscat to be removed, and said that this will also require government MPs to shoulder responsibility and take action to force the Prime Minister out.

Delia’s statements - which he made on Thursday evening in an address during a Net News broadcast - come following shocking court testimony given this morning by inspector Keith Arnaud - the lead investigator in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder.

Arnaud told the court that Schembri, Muscat’s former chief of staff, is being investigated in connection with Caruana Galizia’s assassination. He was testifying during the continuation of the compilation of evidence against Yorgen Fenech, the man accused of masterminding the murder.

“Earlier today we were informed from testimony given in court that Keith Schembri is being investigated for homicide,” Delia said, “This means that the Office of the sitting Prime Minister is bieng investigated for an assassination.”

Even with the most extreme interpretation of what a normal democracy could allow, such a state of affairs is “the most intolerable thing” and necessitated that all the necessary political obligations be upheld, he said.

“The Prime Minister must leave now,” he stressed.

Delia appealed to the President to use the power granted to him under Article 85 of the Constitution, which allows him to, in particular circumstances, not only appoint a Prime Minister but also remove one by starting the necessary process.

“I request that Article 85 of the Constitution, which also makes reference to Articles 80 and 81(1), be invoked and put into effect, Delia said.

He said that for Muscat to be removed, it wasn’t only Vella’s action which was needed, but also that of the Deputy Prime Minister and government MPs, whom he urged to shoulder responsibility immediately.”

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“The time is now, the moment is now, the need is immediate. They must shoulder responsibility now and do what the country needs and is demanding of them.”

Delia also referred to yesterday’s overwhelming approval in the European Parliament of a resolution asking the European Commission to enter into dialogue with Malta over rule of law failings and criticising Joseph Muscat’s failure to step down immediately. 

“We can’t have allow a situation to go on where 84% of the European Parliament agreed that the Prime Minister’s position is no longer tenable… and this was before the MEPs knew that the Office of the Prime Minister was being investigated for an assassination,” Delia said.

“This is a delicate and exceptional period for the country which demands that everyone shoulder responsibility wisely, but with a commitment for the oath they took […] for the good of the Maltese and of what is best for the country.”

Delia added that it was now necessary to rise above political and partisan demands and do what is best for Malta.

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