Malta’s rumour mill is in overdrive with claims that the government is planning to call an early election for October 2021. However, it seems that the trial against Alfred Degiorgio and George Degiorgio for the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia is likely to begin over the same period.
Earlier today, the Degiorgios appeal for preliminary pleas drew to a close with Judge Edwina Grima expected to deliver her on 7th July 2021. The criminal court will then give a date for the trial by jury to begin.
Legal experts believe that the courts will call for the trial to begin in late September or October – unless of course, the Degiorgio brothers plead guilty before then.
The trial will likely pour salt on the nation’s ever-present wounds following the assassination of Caruana Galizia – with the murders’ links to Malta’s highest offices already being laid bare in the country’s conscience.
Meanwhile, the Degiorgios have launched sensational claims against current and former Cabinet members – recently submitting an unsuccessful pardon request to reveal the links between Cabinet members, the murder, other murders, and other major crimes.
Rumours have suggested that the government is keen to announce an October election date, with many predicting the country to achieve herd immunity from COVID-19 by September, creating an opportune time for Prime Minister Robert Abela to capitalise and win his first-ever national election.
The government has already been campaigning, with Cabinet members already calling up their constituents and the Labour Party setting up its own English-language portal.
However, the trial will likely bring a renewed focus on the government’s action, or rather inaction, in the lead-up and following Caruana Galizia’s murder. Beyond that, many, including former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his right-hand man Keith Schembri, are still subject to intense suspicions over the involvement in the plot itself or a conspiracy to help cover it up.
The case will undoubtedly put the microscope on the many issues that plagued Abela’s predecessor.
Vince Muscat, the third hitman, has already admitted his involvement in the murder and the murder of Carmel Chircop. He is ready to speak more, and potentially implicate Cabinet members, if Cabinet would let him.
The rumour mill will continue for now – but questions will be asked in the Abela camp whether the potential clash should torpedo plans for an early election.
Do you think an election will be called for October?