Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced an election date for the 3rd June at today’s mass meeting in Castille Square.
Two mass meetings were held today – the Labour Party’s meeting at Castille, and the Nationalist Party meeting in Spinola.
A snap election was expected after Muscat’s said that “irresponsible claims” had slowed down the progress of the government’s work, and posed a threat on the country’s stability.
The claims refer to blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia’s allegations of money laundering in connection with Muscat and his wife, Michelle Muscat. Caruana Galizia alleged that Michelle Muscat is the owner of Egrant Inc, a company set up in Panama alongside the ones set up for Energy Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff Keith Schembri.
The Muscats have strenuously denied the allegations, and earlier this month Muscat called for a magisterial inquiry, which is ongoing.
“I will not even allow one job be threatened by the uncertainty sowed by others.”
Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat – Worker’s Day rally, Castille Square, Valletta
Following Caruana Galizia’s allegations, and amidst subsequent allegations of corruption against the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, Keith Schembri, the Leader of Opposition Simon Busuttil has repeatedly called for Muscat’s resignation. Muscat has vowed to resign only if the inquiry finds him linked to the allegations in question.
The current Egrant Inc. saga follows last year’s revelation that Minister Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri both had set up company structures in tax haven Panama shortly after the last election. Muscat did not ask the Mizzi and/or Schembri to resign, but Mizzi’s portfolio was removed.
Go to 04:15 in the video below for Muscat’s response on the Panama Papers fallout last year.