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Daphne Caruana Galizia: MEPs call for Malta PM Joseph Muscat to quit immediately

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Daphne Caruana Galizia: MEPs call for Malta PM Joseph Muscat to quit immediately
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MEPs have joined calls for the immediate resignation of Malta's prime minister, Joseph Muscat.

They made the demand while discussing the murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and rule of law on the Mediterranean island.

Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb two years ago. Three men have been awaiting trial for setting the bomb that killed Caruana Galizia, but authorities have yet to track down who hired them.

Muscat announced he would quit as PM in January after his aides were held for questioning in the investigation. They included his right-hand man, Keith Schembri, who denies any wrongdoing and who police say is no longer needed in their probe.

"Prime Minister Muscat, if your office, the office of the prime minister, has been involved in a murder, what else do we still don't know? You must step down," said Spanish MEP Esteban Gonzalez Pons, from the European People's Party political grouping.

EPP leader Manfred Weber said Muscat must "resign now" and accused the Socialists and Democrats group, of which the Labor Party of Maltese Prime Minister belongs, of "hanging on" to him.

Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola, also from EPP, said: "We want the world to know that we are not all cut from the same cloth as Joseph Muscat and the criminals that he empowers. When the world looks at Malta, they should see our face, a people standing up."

One face not in the European Parliament on Tuesday to respond was Muscat himself, but his fellow Labour Party members promised to take on board the messages and implement reforms in the area of rule of law.

"I am here to speak up for a country that showed that it listens; a country that is open to the recommendations made; a country that implements; and yes, to respond to those who find it convenient to harm Malta and its people at this hour," said Miriam Dalli, a Maltese MEP in the S&D group.

MEPs will vote on a resolution this Wednesday asking the European Commission to start a rule of law dialogue with the Maltese government.