Finance Minister Edward Scicluna has denied he plans to resign, dispelling weeks of rumours and a Times of Malta report that he plans to retire from Parliament “within weeks”.
“After every successful budget by a Labour government, the Opposition always conjures up some incident or news to divert public attention,” Scicluna said. “Today’s pretend news on the front page of the Times is no exception. Ignore it. It’s a clear sign that they’re floundering after the Opposition leader and Prime Minister delivered their speeches.”
Scicluna, 74, has been Finance Minister for seven years and has already pledged not to contest the next general election. Rumours that he is set to resign have intensified after the government co-opted the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Clyde Caruana, an economist, into Parliament.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Robert Abela refused to comment on whether Scicluna will resign, merely stating that Malta should show ample gratitude to him for managing to turn the country’s finances around.
“Before we had grown used to being in debt, but thanks to Scicluna, we’ve gotten used to having a surplus,” Abela continued.
“Whereas today we were meant to have a budget of austerity, we managed to come up with this administration’s best budget.”
There have been widespread rumours of an impending Cabinet reshuffle, with newly co-opted MPs Clyde Caruana and Miriam Dalli set to land high profile Cabinet positions and Scicluna rumoured to be on his way out.
The Finance Minister has been facing significant pressure over Moneyval, alleged inaction over financial crime and money laundering, and his own role in the Vitals hospitals deal.