Live Blog: PM says MPs a compact group and vows loyalty to successor

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat pulled a fast one on the Opposition as he announce that the sittings of Monday and Tueday in Parliament were going to be dedicated to the debate regarding the case of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. This accouncement was made in what appeared to be ab ad hoc decision, taken impromptu after the PN oposition walkout at the start of the sitting. The debate had been promised but no indication of date had been given.

17:30: Muscat mentioned that he had been debating his date of departure for a considerable time even though, earlier in the speech he had said that he would not leave until the Caruana Galizia Murder had been solved. He then praised the Speaker for the ‘excellent relationship’ which they both had had. As he ended his eulogy, the government whip called for an immediate adjournment. 

17:22: Muscat made several personal remarks ranging from the Yalta Conference to his beilef that as PM he should not do more that 2 terms (Muscat will have spent one and a half terms as PM, when he leaves). He said that his departure may facilitate more women in parliament. 

17:16: Muscat said that he wanted to close this case before leaving. He said that the breakthrough had happened and it is time to move on. He said that he had the support and unanimity of all his MPs adding that he felt a great sense of companionship with his MPs.

In a throw-away phrase during the opening of the debate in parliament about the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, PM MUscat said that he had yet to decide on his political future in parliament. After his announcement on Sunday that he was to step down as Prime Minister, Muscat said that he had yet to decide on his parliamentary future. 

Muscat said that he would help his successor and be loyal as well as his unwavering vote to the Labour Party. Using the argument of having a numerical majority, Muscat said that this is not tied to a person but to the idea of a movement. “I will help to the best of my abilities” said Muscat. 

17:05: The crux, said Muscat, is that a person has been arraigned as the mastermind. This is not a kangaroo court, said the Prime MInister and it will be the course of justice which will decide on the guilt or otherwise of this person. This was a trial by fire for the institutions of the country, said Muscat but no one must be permitted to use violence and intimidation. Responsibility he said must be shouldered not only for what one does but for what happens on one’s watch. That is why, he said, that he had decided that the time had come to bow out. 

17:00: WHile the person has now been arraigned, Muscat maintained that the process was far from over. He described the case as being delicate and care not to prejudice the case had to be taken. Referring to the Public Inquiry, instituted about a week before the apprehension of Yorgen Fenech, Muscat said that the Caruana Galizia family had been kept abreast of proceedings. This inqury now has 9 months to tell us if government could have done anything to to prevent the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia. 

16:55: Muscat said that on the 20th November a person had been detained and a series of questioning sessions were held. He was informed that the person who had been arrested had requested pardon and the recommendation in this case had been in the negative. He said that this decision, he decided, would not be taken by himself alone, so he shared it with his cabinet. CAbinet unanmously turned down the request, said Muscat. He claimed being threated by the person arrested that he would spill incriminating evidence on the Prime MInister. 

16:50: Muscat said that the negotiations with the middleman were carried out through lawyers on both sides. He said that there was agreement that the investigtors examine all the tapes and other evidence. Muscat said that he accepted the advice of the Attorney General that there was enough evidence to prosecute. He signed the recommendation for the granting of pardon which will include also the giving of evidence on three unrelated, major unsolved cases. Muscat said that the decision had been taken by himself, alone, as he felt that this was the best way forward. 

16:43: Muscat said that the investigations were not co-ordinated by the PM but by the Secret Services and the police. At that point, several interruptions were heard from outside the chamber and Muscat had to stop his prepared speech. When he resumed, Muscat said that the main points of reference were EUropol. He admitted to being given briefings on the progress being made on the case. 

16:30: Prime minsiter Muscat announces a two day debate on the events which happened from the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia to the apprehension of Yorgen Fenech, charged as accomplice to the murder. He said tha the help of the FBI had been indispensible and unparallelled.