Robert Abela said he will not report the magistrate he has accused of deliberately delaying the Vitals inquiry, instead insisting it is now up to the electorate to scrutinise the judiciary.

Abela has repeatedly claimed he does not believe the timing of the conclusions of the inquiry into the Vitals hospitals deal, weeks before the June 8 MEP elections, was coincidental.

Anyone who believes there was any wrongdoing by a member of the judiciary or a lawyer has the facility to report them to the Commission for the Administration of Justice.

The comission's proceedings are held behind closed doors.

However on Thursday he told Times of Malta that since Magistrate Gabriella Vella had taken her inquiry to the political arena with the "perfect timing" of closing a four-and-a-half year process, now it was up to people to send its strong message in the June 8 election. 

Video: Matthew Mirabelli

He was speaking following a press conference where he introduced the nine candidates fielded by the Labour Party for the European Parliament elections. 

Asked whether he was saying the magistrate was biased, he said he will comment on this once the inquiry conclusions are made public.

At the moment all he could comment about was the timeline "which was surely not a simple coincidence".

"People can reach their own conclusions on whether this was intentional or not. The Commission is not the only body that scrutinises the judiciary. People will take their decision on June 8," he said.

"People must send a strong message that they will not accept these kind of manoeuvres by the establishment. A strong message in favour of their sovereignty to decide who governs the country," he added. 

He said this was not an attack on the Labour Party but one that impinged on democracy and the people's power to choose. 

"People must protect themselves from this," he said.

Photo of the launch: Partit LaburistaPhoto of the launch: Partit Laburista

Abela does not specify who forms part of establishment

Asked who formed part of the establishment he was referring to, Abela said they were different people and parts of different institutions who were working from behind the scenes to dictate what happens and what decisions are taken. 

The June 8 election will not sweep all this under the carpet but will send a strong message against the establishment, he added.

"We thought it's going to be an election like any other but this issue gave it a totally different dimension because the establishment raised its head.

"If there's any danger to our democracy, it was created by this clique of people and their manoeuvres. People must send a strong signal and that is why our slogan is about giving strength to the Maltese (Is-Saħħa lill-Maltin)," he said.

When reminded that a substantial number of members of the judiciary were appointed by the Labour government including former MP Wenzu Mintoff, former deputy leader Toni Abela and former international secretary Joe Mifsud, Abela said he will not go there, saying only that all these steered away from their political allegiances. 

"I have no doubt that the timeline chosen was done to send a message and influence the election campaign and its result. This is very dangerous and I expected much better," he said.

Abela said that with her decision, the magistrate also tainted other members of the judiciary. 

Asked who he was referring to when he said he would not allow anyone to destabilise the country, the prime minister said it was the establishment who was not interested in the country's progress but was only focused on its own advancement.

He said part of this establishment was still pulling the strings within the Nationalist Party. 

"Ask Bernard Grech who's part of the establishment," he told the journalist. 

'Full support in Michael Falzon'

Answering questions about the social benefits scandal, Abela said Family Minister Michael Falzon had his full support. 

Last month, Roger Agius - one of five who stand accused in court of alleged involvement in the large-scale racket - claimed that an official at Falzon's ministry had facilitated the fraud and reassured him that as long as the minister remained in the post, they would never be in any trouble.

Agius was the driver and close confidant of doctor and former Labour MP Silvio Grixti.

Falzon later took to social media to deny having anything to do with the racket.

The scandal has seen hundreds of people being given falsified documents which they then used to apply for monthly severe disability benefit payments, costing taxpayers upwards of €5 million.

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