Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat could make a political comeback, even if not on the Labour Party ticket, if he feels legally threatened , author and former PL delegate Mark Camilleri has suggested.
“Joseph Muscat is politically strong and shouldn’t be underestimated; he’s a dangerous political monster,” Camilleri said during a recent interview on Jon Mallia’s podcast Il-Podcast ta’ Jon.
“When he issued that threat to [Times of Malta chief editor] Herman Grech that he could re-enter politics if he wants to, he means it and I believe him. I don’t underestimate him.”
If he finds himself in serious legal trouble, he will return to politics to defend himself just as [former Italian Prime Minister] Silvio Berlusconi did.”
“It’s a possibility… a probability that he will re-enter politics, even if not on the PL ticket, and many people will support him anyway.”
Camilleri said Muscat only resigned as Prime Minister in 2019 because six Labour MPs – who he named as Evarist Bartolo, Chris Fearne, Jose Herrera, Clifton Grima, Joe Mizzi and Edward Scicluna – had delivered him an ultimatum.
“The PL rebels pressured Muscat and told him that either he leaves or they will leave. At that point, Muscat felt that his back was to the wall because he never had six high-ranking ministers grouping up and telling him they would leave.”
“It would have been a bit crippling for the party, Muscat wouldn’t have had the strength to run the government, and we’d have ended up in a position worse than the 1980s with a very ineffective government. Muscat knew all this and he didn’t want to take the risk because it would have been madness.”
Although he described Muscat as a “criminal”, Camilleri acknowleged that some of the former Prime Minister’s policies had seriously improved several people’s lives.
“Besides addressing the problem of precarious work, many elderly people hadn’t seen a substantial rise in their pensions for years until Joseph Muscat became Prime Minister.”
“Perhaps those who were already living comfortably before Muscat entered the scene didn’t notice the difference, but many people did notice it and they genuinely love Muscat because he improved their lives.”
He said the Labour Party therefore has a huge responsibility to explain to its supporters that the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, and the government’s indirect contribution to it, was wrong.
“They want to shake off their historic responsibility but things don’t work that way. I feel that I shouldered my responsibility but the PL must do the same; it can’t remain in denial forever.”