Updated 7.30pm - Added Dr Buttigieg statement

Partit Demokratiku leader Anthony Buttigieg will step down from his post after being nominated as the party's first MEP election candidate.

Anthony ButtigiegAnthony Buttigieg

"The decision was unanimous, based on his unassailable principles and vision for a Malta which is more free and more fair," a party statement said on Saturday.

The party said Dr Buttigieg sat for an interview, and the independent board passed on its report to the party executive. The executive then voted on the MEP candidacy based on the board's recommendation.

As he embarks on a political campaign, coupled with his profession, and the increasing demands of a fast-expanding party, Dr Buttigieg has decided it is in the interests of the party to elect a new leader, PD said.

Dr Buttigieg will step down as leader on Friday, paving the way for a successor.

He will stay on as interim/caretaker leader until a new leader is elected and will remain a member of the party's executive committee. He was only elected leader last November, succeeding MP Marlene Farrugia.

PD has two MPs in parliament. 

Read: My PD doesn't need a leader with an ego - Anthony Buttigieg

In a Facebook post, Dr Buttigieg said that he would have been unable to juggle his professional career, party leadership duties and MEP candidacy.  

The party would be announcing other EP election candidates in due course, he said. 

"I entered politics two years ago to try and change the present political status quo that was doing none of us favours. If anything the situation is far worse now than then."  

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