Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said Sunday night that he would resign in January following pressure from citizens for the truth about the 2017 car bombing that killed a journalist.
In a televised message, Muscat said he has informed Malta’s president that he will quit as leader of the governing Labour Party on Jan. 12 and that “in the days after, I will resign as prime minister.”
Hours earlier, thousands of Maltese protested outside a courthouse in the capital, Valletta, demanding that he step down.
“As prime minister, I promised two years ago that justice would be done in the case of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia,” Muscat said, beginning his speech, adding “today I am here to tell you that I kept my word.”
Muscat noted that in addition to three people arrested soon after the bombing for carrying out the actual attack, now there is “someone accused of being the principal person behind this killing.”
Muscat was referring to prominent Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech, who on Saturday night, was arraigned on charges of alleged complicity in the murder and of allegedly organizing and financing the bombing. Fenech entered pleas of innocence.
Muscat’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri was linked to the killing. Schembri was among government members targeted by Caruana Galizia’s investigative reporting. Schembri, who resigned last week, was arrested in the probe but later released. He denies wrongdoing
Labour has a comfortable majority in Parliament, indicating that a new party leader could become premier without the need for a national election.