Friday

20th Apr 2018

Offshore leaks fail to harm Maltese PM

  • The 43-year old Muscat won another five-year term (Photo: eu2017mt/Flickr)

Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat was sworn in for five more years on Monday (5 June) despite “aggressive” revelations about offshore firms.

His Labour Party won 55 percent of the votes on Saturday, according to a first count by the electoral commission, beating the opposition Nationalist Party with 44 percent.

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He described the result as a “big vote of confidence” after having called the elections to restore his authority amid corruption allegations.

These involved leaks that his wife, his chief of staff, and a minister had secret offshore accounts in accusations that remain under investigation.

"You have confirmed your confidence in the movement despite one of the most negative electoral campaigns in the country's history”, Muscat told supporters in Valletta on Saturday.

“Those who thought that the Maltese people would choose negativity don’t truly know the Maltese people, because the Maltese people choose positivity, optimism, energy, goodwill, unity and equality”, he said.

Simon Busuttil, the Nationalist Party leader, resigned after his defeat.

But he urged magistrates to continue their probes into the offshore leaks.

“The fact that Joseph Muscat won the election does not mean that what happened has now been erased. It does not mean that the crimes committed have been forgotten. I hope Muscat at least realises that politics have to be cleaned up”, Busuttil said.

Malta’s president, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, the same day called on both parties to end their “aggressive and abusive language”.

The result clears a potential embarrassment for the EU, whose rotating, six-month presidency is currently being held by Malta.

Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, said in a letter to Muscat that: “Your result is a remarkable tribute to your leadership over the last years.”

Muscat, who is 43 years old, promised to cut taxes and raise pensions in his campaign, underlining the island’s mini-boom in his past four years in power.

He also pledged to legalise gay marriage, building his international reputation on civil rights.

His strong new mandate saw 92 percent of Malta’s 342,000 eligible voters cast a ballot.

EU: 'Keep Calm', as Italy struggles to form government

Both the leaders of the populist Five Star Movement and far-right League party claim the position of Italian prime minister, amid renewed eurosceptics remarks while Europe is waiting for a stable government.

Italy votes to become more eurosceptic

A hung parliament is expected, as preliminary results show a good outcome for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant Northern League.

Opinion

The populists may have won, but Italy won't leave the euro

The situation as Rome tries to form a government is turbulent and unpredictable. However, the most extreme eurosceptic policies floated during the election campaign are unlikely to happen - not least due to the precarious state of the Italian banks.

Far-right parties re-register to access EU funds

After missing a funding deadline, the far-right nationalist Alliance for Peace and Freedom and the Alliance of European National Movements are back in the game and possibly eligible for EU money in 2019.

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