Updated: 12.50pm

The Nationalist Party has called a public protest linked to the Vitals hospitals scandal on Monday.

It will be held outside parliament and follows a declaration by opposition leader Bernard Grech on Wednesday that his party would resort to 'parliamentary disobedience' after two rulings by the speaker denying requests for urgent debate on issues stemming from the Vitals inquiry and the subsequent filing of charges.

Last week the opposition sought an urgent debate on a motion calling for the publication in full of the Vitals inquiry report submitted by Magistrate Gabriella Vella. On Wednesday it sought a debate on its call for Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne and other co-accused in the Vitals case to step down.

The PN's protest poster.The PN's protest poster.

The PN is calling its protest Nagħtu s-saħħa lill Maltin (Giving power to the Maltese), a play on Labour's European Parliament and local councils electoral slogan Saħħa lill-Maltin.

Its protest poster features Prime Minister Robert Abela and five of the accused in the Vitals case – former prime minister Joseph Muscat, Fearne, Central Bank Governor Edward Scicluna, former minister Konrad Mizzi and former chief of staff Keith Schembri.

In a recorded address to the nation, Grech said that this was an “unprecedented time in our country’s history”, with top public officials both past and present facing charges of money laundering, corruption and fraud.

Grech said that instead of ensuring that justice was administered, Prime Minister Robert Abela “unleashed a vicious attack on the judiciary to save his skin”. 

Accusing Abela of knowing what the inquiry contains, Grech said that he is using its contents to “attack journalists and all those who don’t sing from the government’s hymn sheet”.

Grech also had harsh words for the police force, saying that this investigation should have been carried out years ago, “when many, including PN, were pointing to the corruption in this deal”.

Meanwhile, Grech said, the state broadcaster remains “a censorship tool in favour of the government, despite losing one case after another”. 

“Everyone who was named in this case and holds public office must resign,” he said. 

The Vitals case has dominated headlines since the magistrate concluded her four-year inquiry into the government's grant of a concession for the management of three state hospitals to Vitals Global Healthcare in 2015.

Vitals later transferred the concession to Steward Healthcare and the concession was declared null by Malta's highest court in February after finding fraud. 

Charges in connection with the case were filed in court on Monday but no arraignment date has been announced yet.

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