Joseph Muscat will not be a candidate for the European Parliament elections, close friend and former Labour general secretary Jason Micallef said on Wednesday.

He said on Facebook that he was noting his absence 'with a heavy heart'.

The former prime minister later told Malta Today: “When it comes to making the announcement, it will be made officially... there will be a clear signal on what decision has been taken, and you will know what that decision is.”

He said that things "will be clear" by Monday 29, the deadline for candidates to submit their nominations to the Electoral Commission. 

Joseph Muscat speaking on Wednesday. Video: NET TV

It was another close collaborator, Emanuel Cuschieri, who in January sparked speculation of Muscat making a return to politics.

Muscat himself later said he was not ruling out the possibility. But while he addressed a campaign event for MEP Alex Agius Saliba, he did not do any campaigning himself.

Times of Malta reported in February that the Labour Party would win June’s European elections by more than 40,000 votes over the Nationalists if Muscat were to stand, according to an internal party poll.

At least 20,000 Labour voters who claimed to be abstaining or mulling whether to vote, would go to the polls if the former prime minister was on the ballot sheet. And most of them would vote for him, the poll indicated.

Micallef said Muscat's absence from the elections was a major opportunity lost  for Malta and the Labour Party.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us