Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will stay on as MP beyond his resignation for at least a few months.
Muscat has himself indicated that he could stay on ever since stepping down, telling a crowd that while he “would no longer be the captain” he would remain a “sailor”.
However, his plans for the future are far from clear.
In a recent interview, Muscat claimed he was mulling a new 10-year project once he resigned but did not give any hint as to what that was.
Despite the Office of the Prime Minister refusing to answer questions over whether Muscat would stay on as MP, government whip Byron Camilleri was able to confirm that he will stay for at least a few months.
Muscat’s decision to stay on beyond his resignation will do little to dampen concerns that he is using his far-reaching power to influence the investigation.
While Muscat may insist that he will “no longer be the captain”, Malta’s next Prime Minister will have to form a government and kick off with Muscat’s influence very much present.
Having a former Prime Minister stay on as MP, as Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici can attest, will mean that power firmly stays in Muscat’s hands. And while it may be for just a couple of months, the investigations have reached a crucial juncture where transparency is critical.
Muscat was forced to resign in disgrace after his Chief of Staff Keith Schembri was arrested in connection with the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Beyond the assassination, Chief Inspector Keith Arnaud has confirmed that Schembri is also under investigation for allegedly leaking extensive information about the investigation, obstructing justice, and acquiring a phantom job for middleman Melvin Theuma.
Despite overwhelming pressure for him to step down as Prime Minister immediately, Muscat has vowed to stay on until 12th January when a new Labour Party Leader will be chosen.
Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne and MP Robert Abela are jostling to be crowned Malta’s next Prime Minister. But with the men firmly part of Muscat’s farewell tour, who’s to say they’re really going to end up with their post they’re fighting for.