Robert Abela on Wednesday appealed to the party faithful to remain calm and not react to "provocation", one day after the confirmation that a damning hospitals' inquiry had been concluded.

“No one, not even one person should fall to their provocation. Let us keep calm and respond strongly by not letting them take over the country and making it their own,” Abela said. 

The prime minister was addressing a Labour Party mass meeting in Valletta to launch the party's June 8 European Parliament and local council election campaign.

His predecessor Joseph Muscat is known to be at the centre of the hospitals' inquiry, with the former prime minister himself admitting he will likely face criminal charges. 

Addressing a crowd that filled Valletta’s St George’s Square, Abela made veiled references, saying forces of the “establishment” were working behind the scenes against the government.

"I will not allow anyone to destabilise the country," he warned sternly. 

The magisterial inquiry into the deal was concluded last week and is now at the attorney general's office, a court heard on Tuesday.

In reaction, Abela hit out repeatedly at the magistrate for concluding her inquiry weeks before MEP and local council elections in June. 

Labour Party supporters gathered in Valletta for the first mass meeting of the June 8 electoral campaign. Photo: Gareth DegiorgioLabour Party supporters gathered in Valletta for the first mass meeting of the June 8 electoral campaign. Photo: Gareth Degiorgio

He claimed parts of the judiciary were part of the establishment and that the timing of the inquiry “was not a coincidence", describing the actions as "political terrorism". 

On Wednesday, Abela appealed to people to support the Labour Party to keep the Nationalist Party at bay. He insisted that what had been achieved by the government could not be taken for granted in the face of “the forces of the establishment”. 

“They have not stopped hampering us and they have become arrogant. They have resorted to disgusting tactics and are ready to do whatever they could to get power,” he said to applause.

He said the country needed people in the European Parliament who worked for the people and the country, and not against them, even trying to stop EU funding. The same applied to local councils, he said. 

PL MEPs will fight for Malta’s interests while the “others” have shown interest in furthering their careers, he said. 

“Others bow down in fear when questioned on the energy subsidies the government is providing. We do not and I promise that this assistance will continue, despite pressure from the EU to stop it,” he said. 

Abela said Labour councils will focus on improving the environment in Malta localities through open spaces and increasing the services provided by councils. He cited day centres that “keep solitude at bay” for the elderly as an example.

Abela mentioned pay increases resulting from new collective agreements that were being signed, including for public sector workers, as well as a raft of budget measures such as pension and children's allowance increases. 

Parents whose children continue post-secondary education will also receive €500 for three years, Abela said. 

To mark the start of the electoral campaign, the Labour Party also unveiled its campaign song Is-saħħa lil-Maltin. (Strength to the Maltese).

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