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‘Time for national unity’

PN joins civil society protest on Sunday as Joseph Muscat moves forward with call to counter demands by citizens despite a stream of resignations in government

Citizens protesting in front of the Office of the Prime Minister following the resignations of Keith Schembri, Konrad Mizzi and Chris Cardona on 26 November. Photo: Paul Borg Olivier.

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia’s decision to cancel the PN protest on Sunday was made to put the country first, recognising the need for unity, he told The Shift.

The PN said in a statement that it had cancelled a protest planned on Sunday which had been announced by Secretary General Clyde Puli on social media and followed by a stream of criticism. Delia said the Party was rising above its own interest to come together in a united effort for the country to face the challenges ahead.

Delia said that if Prime Minister Joseph Muscat wanted to rally his troops after a week of resignations at the top levels of government, rather than listen to citizens’ demands for accountability, the PN would choose instead to stand with the people.

“This is a time of national unity. The PN recognises the effort by civil society and its demands for good governance and the rule of law. I took the decision to respect the call by citizens. Joseph Muscat wants to hold a protest to rally the troops against the people of this country demanding accountability. We will instead support these efforts and listen to the public call,” Delia told The Shift.

He also referred to the unprecedented crisis the country was facing. “Without renouncing our beliefs and opinions, the national interest demands that we come together and lead the country out of the unprecedented crisis it is in.”

In a statement, the PN said the national interest demanded the participation of people of different ideas and beliefs in a democratic process that could lead to solutions for stability in the country.

Civil society group Repubblika noted the PN’s decision to cancel Sunday’s protest, supporting the call for national unity.

“Now that the truth has started to emerge, what we still need to achieve is justice. As long as Joseph Muscat stays on as Prime Minister, he will remain an obstacle to justice. He must resign or be removed from parliament,” Repubblika said when announcing the call for a protest organised with Occupy Justice starting at the entrance to the capital city on Sunday at 4pm.

Both political parties came under attack for seeking to mobilise their supporters in a tense moment for the country. The son of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, Matthew, called on citizens not to attend political party protests.

“This is not a time for tribal politics. Joseph Muscat wants us to go to war against each other. Our war is against corruption, against his office, the Office of the Prime Murderer. Join the civil society protests,” Matthew said.

The Labour Party in government is moving forward with a protest on Sunday that was announced yesterday, a day that saw the resignation of the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri who was then placed under arrest, as well as the resignation of Muscat’s star Minister Konrad Mizzi. Economy Minister Chris Cardona also ‘suspended himself’ after being questioned by the police together with members of his staff.

Education Minister Evarist Bartolo, who has recently taken to issuing daily commentary on social media on developments in his own Party even as he voted for the status quo in a vote of confidence for the Prime Minister,  warned against fanning the flames of hatred and violence in a delicate moment for the country. He warned against ‘sparking the crowds’ and asked who would then put out the fire.

Petra Caruana Dingli at The Shift News

That final blog post

‘Political resignations are not enough’ – Reporters Without Borders