Former Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi on Monday called on Joseph Muscat to resign with immediate effect.

Ms Mizzi who was one of the Labour Party's MEPs until last May, did not mince words in a Facebook post on Monday morning. 

“The post of Deputy PM is there to take over the premiership when needed. We need this to happen NOW! Country FIRST, please!” she wrote.

Her call was made while actvists from Moviment Graffitti staged a sit-in protest at the entrance of the Prime Minister’s Office in Valletta.

Despite mounting pressure, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is resisting calls to leave and will only be stepping down after January 12 once the Labour Party has elected his successor.

Only two candidates have declared their intention to run for the post - Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, and Labour MP Robert Abela.

The latter announced his candidature last Saturday, scuppering plans to have a one-horse race which could have meant that the Prime Minister would have left by the end of this week.

Internal pressure on Muscat

Four days ago, MEP candidate and former advisor Cyrus Engerer, who had once been described by Dr Muscat’s as a Labour “soldier of steel”, publicly called on the Prime Minister to resign.

“I’ve always been clear that the national interest always comes first.  I told the Prime Minister, both internally and publicly, that he should resign. With what has emerged so far, it is clear that Malta and the Labour Party have been betrayed by Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri,” Mr Engerer wrote on Facebook

On Sunday, former President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca also stepped up pressure on the Prime Minister to leave. Though not mentioning him by name she said that all those connected with the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder should step aside at once,

“We cannot allow this dangerous situation to continue being dragged out for another day,” Dr Coleiro Preca said in a Facebook post. 

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