Malta's outgoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Friday (Jan 10) said he was “paying the highest political price” for failing to solve a journalist's killing, the investigation into which he has been accused of hampering.
”I am sorry for the (Daphne) Caruana Galizia murder, Muscat said in his farewell speech to Labour party supporters ahead of a party vote on his successor.
She hurt me too but I paid the highest price for this case to be solved under my watch, an emotional Muscat said.
Muscat, 45, said in December he would quit following widespread anger over his perceived efforts to protect friends and allies from an investigation into the brutal 2017 slaying of investigative blogger Caruana Galizia.
Muscat said he would remain an MP and involve himself in civil rights and promoting sport for youths.
You won't see much of me, said Muscat, who once bathed in the glow of the country's booming economy and was re-elected by a landslide to serve a second term in 2017.
Muscat's fall from power followed daily protests led by supporters of the Caruana Galizia family, who accuse him among other things of shielding his chief of staff and childhood friend Keith Schembri, who has been implicated in the murder.
Dubbed the one woman WikiLeaks, Caruana Galizia exposed corruption at the highest levels on the Mediterranean island.
She was killed in a car bomb explosion on October 16, 2017 in an attack that made headlines around the world. Less than an hour before her death, Caruana Galizia wrote on her blog: There are crooks everywhere you look. The situation is desperate.”
Journalist consortium the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project named Muscat its Person of the Year in 2019 for allegedly allowing criminality and corruption to flourish, and in many cases go unpunished, under his leadership.