In what he referred to as his last speech in Parliament as Prime Minister, Dr Joseph Muscat described the last seven years as a beautiful experience.
“As Prime Minister, it was an adventure – I often had regrets, but it was a beautiful adventure, and I am proud to have represented the country. This is not my farewell speech, but rather, my last intervention in Parliament.”
In a Ministerial statement, Dr Muscat stated that from this point until a new Prime Minister is appointed, he will not be making any major decisions.
Dr Muscat added that he had been contemplating about when to resign, adding that he regretted having to resign in this manner.
“I started off the year with the intention of quitting in Summer, but because of the Budget I postponed and decided to leave afterwards. After the Budget, I decided on the end of the following year, then I thought I would wait for the following year’s Budget. The situation is not a happy one. I would have wished for a different exit.”
Dr Muscat said he has not decided whether to stay on as an MP, adding this had always been his wish, and further stating that while he would not be supporting any of the contesting candidates, he would be loyal to whoever is elected as the new leader.
The Prime minister said he regretted not having concluded certain things during his tenure, including the Constitutional reform.
Dr Muscat added that a Prime Minister should not serve for more than two legislatures, and there should also be a limit on the number of terms served by MPs.
At the start of his address, Dr Muscat gave details about the investigation into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, saying the FBI involvement had been important as previous bomb explosions had not been solved.
Dr Muscat said investigations were only coordinated by the Police and the Security Services, and he was informed that the crucial steps had been taken in coordination with Europol, who gave their advice.
Dr Muscat stated that on Thursday 19 November, a raid had been carried out in a number of localities in connection with money laundering, adding that one of the arrested persons had been the suspected middleman. Dr Muscat said the middleman offered, if granted immunity, to present recordings with the alleged person who had ordered the murder. Dr Muscat said the authorities had negotiated with the middleman’s lawyers, and he had not been involved. The Prime Minister explained that the Attorney General and the Commissioner of Police, after listening to recordings provided by the suspected middleman, advised there was enough information which could be corroborated. Dr Muscat added that the decision to grant a pardon had been assumed by him alone, according to powers vested in him, and after the advice of the Security Services, the Attorney General and his legal consultant in the Cabinet.
The Prime Minister added that he had received a threatening message that unless he signed a declaration granting a pardon to another person, the person charged with being the mastermind behind the murder would state he had had two telephone calls with Dr Muscat, which in fact had never happened, as could be verified.
Dr Muscat stated that with a person arraigned in Court and charged with commissioning the murder, Malta haws shown that the institutions function, and this despite the continuous attacks on them.