Muscat must step down, but government should finish mandate, PN deputy leader says

PN deputy leader David Agius says Joseph Muscat cannot make the best decisions for Malta when his former chief staff was arrested in connection with a murder

PN deputy leader and MP David Agius
PN deputy leader and MP David Agius

David Agius has insisted that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat must step down, but that the Labour government should finish its electoral mandate

Speaking on TVM’s Xtra, Nationalist Party Deputy Leader David Agius said the current political turmoil has come about because “the government closed its eyes and ears and refused to listen” when faced with documents which should have resulted in the removal of Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.

The Prime Minister’s position is not tenable, Agius emphasised, since he would be required to make decisions which involved the people closest to him

“If his chief of staff [Keith Schembri] is suspected [in the murder], how can he take decisions for the good of the Maltese people?”, Agius asked, stressing that the call for the Prime Minister’s resignation is not a capricious one.  

The PN MP called for the “start of a fresh page” under the Labour government, with a new Prime Minister in place for the rest of the legislature.

Transport Minister Ian Borg, however, disagreed, insisting that political responsibility had already been shouldered with the resignations of Schembri and Mizzi.

A section of the people calling for the Prime Minister’s resignation are not really interested in political responsibility, but merely want “the Prime Minister’s head on a plate”, Borg claimed, adding that it was Muscat’s duty to stay on in his role.

“The Prime Minister would be abdicating from his political responsibility if he packed up and left”, Borg declared.

The minister argued that at this point in time, the country needed a Prime Minister who was present and taking decisions, not a campaign for a new premier.

Agius retorted that should Muscat not leave, the political climate in Malta would continue to worsen, warning that this affair is also tainting the country’s international reputation.

“The country cannot move forward with a Prime Minister who has his chief of staff – a good friend of his – being interrogated by the police for the assassination of a journalist”, Agius reiterated

Borg, on the other hand, reaffirmed his belief that Muscat was not letting his private life impinge on his official duties.

In concluding, Agius also expressed his gratitude for those individuals and organisations, like Occupy Justice and Repubblika, who were organising regular protests in Valletta.

“In this issue there are no politics”, Agius said, adding that his party cancelled the demonstration which was initially planned for this coming Sunday so as to support these groups rather than detract from their efforts.

The Transport Minister, in the meantime, underscored that Labour remained united even in the face of the tumultuous events

 “For all the challenges which the country is facing, the Labour Party is far more united and far better than the Nationalist Party in terms of being able to solve them,” Borg said.