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Malta's PM ‘to resign in January’ over slain reporter's case

Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat (photo by AFP)

Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will reportedly resign next month as a police investigation into the 2017 murder of a journalist reaches the highest ranks of his office.

Muscat’s party sources told AFP on Saturday that the Maltese premier, who is under pressure over the government’s alleged cover-up of the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, would step down on January 18.

The sources said Muscat had promised to step down once those behind the investigative journalist’s killing had been charged and his Labor Party had chosen a new leader.

“After the mastermind or masterminds are arraigned in court, he plans to announce that he will be stepping down and that there will be a leadership election on January 18,” a party source told AFP.

The sources did not explain how the arraignment of the alleged masterminds was presumed to take place before January 18.

​A protestor holds up a portrait of slain reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia during a gathering outside the parliament building in Valletta, Malta, on November 27, 2019. (Photo by AFP)

Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb explosion two years ago while she was investigating corruption involving politicians and business executives.

The announcement came as Yorgen Fenech, one of Malta’s wealthiest entrepreneurs and the main suspect in the car bombing, was charged with complicity in the murder.

The court also ordered Fenech’s assets to be frozen, and he was returned to custody.

Keith Schembri, the prime minister’s chief of staff and close friend, resigned earlier this week. Schembri had been arrested and detained for questioning in connection with the murder case and was later released.

Two of Muscat’s senior cabinet ministers also stepped down following the murder case.

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