How newspapers reported Joseph Muscat’s last speech

Front pages of newspapers after Joseph Muscat's last speech as Prime Minister

Saturday’s newspapers led with Joseph Muscat’s last speech, an hour-long celebration of his achievements with a few of his disappointments thrown in, such as the environment and the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, an assassination that cast a long shadow on his administration and guaranteed his resignation.

But the newspapers were largely positive this morning. Pro-labour L-Orizzont was perhaps the most jarring, leading with the words ‘INVICTUS’, a complete whitewash of the Prime Minister’s deficiencies and a reference to the tattoo on his bicep.

L-Orizzont: INVICTUS, from the start to finish of his career
L-Orizzont: INVICTUS, from the start to finish of his career

Said tattoo had stirred controversy when it was linked to Caruana Galizia’s murder. A book on her life and writings had been published a few months after her death entitled ‘Invicta.’ Muscat’s unbeaten record, winning ten straight elections since 2009, was the theme of Muscat’s last speech as he insisted that despite the “personal attacks on him and his family”, he had won each time.

The Malta Independent led with his words: “I took this step so that unity can win over hatred.” The quote refers to his resignation, which Muscat had said in December and repeated in his last speech in Paola, that it was something “that had to be done”, never providing closure for his exit.

The Malta Independent quotes Muscat
The Malta Independent quotes Muscat

His words also undermine the friction and heated campaign moments between Labour leader candidates Robert Abela and Chris Fearne. Like L-Orizzont’s headline, the Malta Independent’s lead lends importance to Muscat’s victorious tone before a resignation that was demanded by civil society.

The Times of Malta’s front page reads: “Muscat plans work on social reform as he gives final speech.” The newspaper focused on Muscat’s future plans, which he said in Paola would be a focus on civil liberties and sports as a backbencher.

The Times of Malta: Muscat's future plans
The Times of Malta: Muscat's future plans

The Times chose to lead with Muscat’s continuity, a leader that sounded in his last speech as if he had a lot left to give and not running out of steam any time soon despite resigning due to his office being implicated in the murder of a journalist.

Yours truly, MaltaToday, underlined the fact that Muscat was bowing out under a dark cloud and that he was aware of it. While he basked in the glory of his vocal supporters, and was acutely aware of his own greatness throughout, he did make mention of regrets, of which he had a few.

MaltaToday: Muscat's regrets and achievements
MaltaToday: Muscat's regrets and achievements

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