‘The government has lost its legitimacy’ – Adrian Delia

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Opposition and Partit Nazzjonalista leader Adrian Delia said that over the past week the government lost its legitimacy to govern, after Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri avoided testifying under cross-examination in a libel suit he instituted against then Opposition leader Simon Busuttil. Delia added that Prime Minister chose to defend his Chief of Staff in Parliament.

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Delia addressed party activists in its club in Sliema on Sunday morning. He reminded that the case filed by Schembri accusing Busuttil of lying about him and subsequently taking him to court. ‘He did so because, he said, he wanted the truth to come out,’ Delia remarked. ‘However, he refused to testify, because the truth would have condemned him,’ the Nationalist leader stated.

“Busuttil was right, Schembri is corrupt,” Delia stated.

He then proceeded to explain that this was not just about a libel case, but the government’s legitimacy.

The Opposition leader pointed out that on Monday, the Prime Minister had the opportunity to remove Schembri from his post.

Reacting to Muscat’s criticism, that he had also dropped libel suits he had previously instituted against Daphne Caruana Galizia, Delia said this was a very different scenario.

“Democracy requires that no one pursues libel cases against the heirs of a murdered journalist. That would have been an assault on democracy and free speech – an attempt to kill the truth.”

He noted that Muscat had said that he would drop the libel suit against the heirs of Caruana Galizia on condition that they accept the findings of the magisterial inquiry into the third Panamanian company Egrant. A report which remains inaccessible to the heirs and the public after only the main conclusions were published.

Muscat willing to drop Caruana Galizia libel case if heirs accept Egrant inquiry findings

Delia pointed out that Muscat had previously sacked ministers for much less. ‘Why is he behaving differently with Schembri?’ he asked.

During his address he also spoke about Saturday’s anti-corruption protest, saying that although the government is corrupt, there are good people. ‘The government has hijacked power in this country but people are speaking up against this and are standing up to be counted.’

Watch: ‘Silence and indifference are corruption’s biggest allies’ – Mark Anthony Sammut

He warned that Malta’s democracy is threatened and that politicians alone are not enough, urging for unity in the fight against corruption.

Partit Laburista reacts

In a statement, Partit Laburista criticized Adrian Delia for dropping the libel suits he had filed against slain journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

PL said that that Delia showed that he is not credible when he said that utility bills did not decrease and when he attacked measures aimed at helping individuals become home owners.