VALETTA: Lawmakers from Maltas ruling Labour Party met on Sunday (Dec 1) to decide the future of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat amid a crisis sparked by the investigation into a murdered journalist.
Pressure grew both within and outside the party for him to quit after the probe into the 2017 car bomb killing of anti-corruption journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia led to charges on Saturday against a prominent businessman with alleged ties to ministers and senior officials.
Yorgen Fenech, 38, was taken to a Valletta court late on Saturday and charged with complicity in the murder. He pleaded not guilty to that and other charges.
The government had earlier turned down Fenechs request for immunity from prosecution in return for revealing information about the murder plot and about alleged corruption involving Muscats former chief of staff Keith Schembri and former Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi, among others, court filings showed.
Schembri and Mizzi resigned on Tuesday and Schembri was interrogated for two days by police before being released without charge. Schembri has denied any wrongdoing. Mizzi on Tuesday denied any business links with Fenech and any wrongdoing.
Labour members of parliament gathered at Girgenti, the prime minister's official countryside retreat, to decide Muscats future. The prime minister was thought to be preparing to announce his departure but seeking to stay in office until a successor was chosen, according to local media and government officials close to Muscat.
Influential opinion-makers in Malta have turned against Muscat for sticking by Schembri, an old friend since school, and including Schembri in security briefings on the murder investigation even after Fenech was identified both as a suspect in the murder and an associate of Schembri.
Saviour Balzan, editor of the pro-Labour Malta Today newspapers, said on Saturday Muscat had showed a "serious error of judgement".
Caruana Galizia's family called on Saturday for Muscat to step aside.
Caruana Galizia had reported that Schembri and Mizzi had set up secret companiesRead More – Source