Several Nationalist MPs on Thursday said they would boycott the Republic Day parade, reception and granting of honours by the President because of the presence of the prime minister.

The decision is in keeping with a decision by the Nationalist Party which said its MPs would stay away from events attended by Dr Muscat because he had lost his legitimacy to serve as prime minister in the wake of the Daphne Caruana Galizia probe fallout. 

Former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil said in a tweet that he could not understand how, in this state of unprecedented national crisis and public outcry, the President was proceeding with this event (and inviting Joseph Muscat) as if it was business as usual.

"It beggars belief. I will not be attending, in protest," he said.

MEP David Casa wrote, separately, that the president's energy should be spent ensuring Dr Muscat's immediate resignation.

"This is not business as usual. I will not be attending this function at a moment when Malta is facing its worst political crisis in living memory."

It was not just Opposition MPs, however, who said they would boycott the MPs.

Engineer Marco Cremona said he had declined the invitation because the situation in the country was such that he could not bring himself to be in the company of individuals in government who may be tainted with corruption or worse.

He said he suggested that the reception should not be held this year as it gave "a fake semblance of normality".

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