President George Vella has postponed a trip to London next week as the country remains in the midst of political turmoil, Times of Malta can confirm. 

Dr Vella was scheduled to fly to London for a two-day visit on Monday, however, sources said the overseas trip was cancelled on Wednesday. 

Contacted about this, a spokesman from the President's office confirmed the trip would not take place in light of the current situation in Malta. 

"A decision has been taken by the Office of the President to postpone the President’s visit to London in view of local developments," the spokesman said. 

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has also cancelled a trip abroad next week. He was due to the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid. 

A spokesman for the Office of the Prime Minister said: "It is the Prime Minister’s responsibility to stay in Malta during these delicate hours." He said that Malta’s Ambassador on Climate Action Professor Simone Borg would attend instead.

The country has been in political crisis for over a week as revelations about the probe into the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia continued to emerge. 

Following the arrest of tycoon Yorgen Fenech last week, focus has now turned squarely on the Office of the Prime Minister after chief of staff Keith Schembri was arrested in connection with the murder.

Two ministers - former Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and former Economy Minister Chris Cardona - have also stepped down in the wake of the developments.

On Monday, Dr Vella formally approved a pardon for Melvin Theuma, the suspected middleman involved in the journalist's murder. A few days earlier, on Saturday, Mr Fenech also applied for such a pardon to spill the beans on the journalist's murder.

While it is usually the Prime Minister or the Justice Minister who recommends granting someone a presidential pardon, this would ultimately need to be signed by the President for it to come into effect.



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