Updated 7.15pm 

The Opposition's call for an urgent parliamentary sitting has not been upheld by the Speaker, after the government side of the House refused the invitation to hold a Saturday meeting.  

Earlier on Saturday, the Nationalist Party and the Democratic Party asked for an urgent parliamentary meeting, with PD calling for a no-confidence motion in Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

This, PD said in a statement on Saturday, would help prevent a decision by Dr Muscat on Yorgen Fenech's request for pardon in exchange for information on Daphne Caruana Galizia's murder.

Meanwhile, the PN parliamentary group said the arrest of Mr Fenech should have sparked the resignation of the Prime Minister.

In a statement, the PN said Dr Muscat had lost all moral authority to lead the country and Malta was suffering the consequences of the "corrupt behaviour" of people close to him.

Investigations should be free from any contamination and the risk exists since people, including the Prime Minister himself, who are involved in the investigation's developments, could be "people of interest", the PN group added.

Malta was going through an unprecedented constitutional and institutional crisis, the PN said, adding that Opposition leader was calling on Parliament to meet and discuss such urgent public matters.

Reacting, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne noted that the PN's request did not contain a formal motion about the issue.

He reiterated that the government planned on asking Parliament to hold a discussion on the issue once the police concluded its work, so that nothing would hinder the investigation at such a delicate stage. 

Replying to the Opposition's request, Speaker Anglu Farrugia said that the two sides of the House had failed to reach an agreement on holding an urgent Parliamentary meeting.

Mr Fenech was arrested on Wednesday morning as he tried to leave the country on board his luxury yacht. 

He was released on police bail late on Thursday and re-arrested again on Friday after he accompanied investigators to a search of his yacht in Portomaso marina in St Julian's.

He has now formally applied for a presidential pardon to spill the beans on the murder.

"Yorgen Fenech thinks he can walk away from an assassination. He is offering us a deal. He will tell us all if we let him go. Our response is simple - Yorgen, we are not your mates Keith (Schembri) and Konrad (Mizzi). You will not escape justice," PD said.

The very fact he had asked for a pardon confirmed that Ms Caruana Galizia's assassination was not as self-contained as Dr Muscat had suggested, following Mr Fenech's arrest on Wednesday, according to PD.

"This is sufficient to draw political conclusions: Joseph must go, now."

"We call on all MPs to hold an urgent session in Parliament - ideally today and before any decision is made by Dr Muscat on Mr Fenech's dirty deal - to discuss a no confidence motion in the Prime Minister," the party added. 

It said the House must elect a new Prime Minister to clean the rot.

"We are not calling for fresh elections. The legislature should continue. But the people at the top must change."

'A confused Opposition' - government

But the government said the Opposition's request for an urgent parliamentary meeting reflected its state of confusion.

While the PN has been insisting that the Prime Minister should not be making statements about the case, it now wanted to meet urgently to discuss the assassination, it said in a reply on Saturday.

"This call is coming from the same Opposition that this week walked out of parliament. The Opposition would do well if it allowed the same institutions that it has criticised, to do their job, as they are doing."

Reacting, the PN said that on Wednesday it had asked the Prime Minister whether he was going to fire Mr Schembri and Dr Mizzi. Dr Muscat had refused to shoulder political responsibility, the party added.

The summoning of Economy Minister Chris Cardona to the police headquarters on Saturday further justified the Opposition's call for an urgent parliamentary meeting.

Read the Opposition's letter and the Speaker's reply in the PDFs below.

Attached files

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