Joseph Muscat believes he has paid "the highest possible price" for the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, as the case has cost him his role of prime minister.
In his New Year’s Day greetings, the outgoing prime minister said 2019 was marked by his resignation announcement among other things.
Dr Muscat has said he will step down in January once a new Labour Party leader is elected.
“This decision was made because it was necessary, and because I had to shoulder responsibility for the actions and decisions which I did not necessarily make. It needed to be done for the good of the country," he said.
Dr Muscat noted that soon after the assassination of Ms Caruana Galizia, he had pledged he would do everything in his power to see that justice is done.
“While at the end of the day, it is the people who will decide when the case is entirely closed, beyond the legal procedures underway in court, I am satisfied that justice is being done,” he said.
“Ultimately, I paid the highest price possible since I did not wish to leave my role in this manner. Nevertheless, I am reassured by the fact that I did everything I could have done.”
In his recorded message, Dr Muscat acknowledged that the country “now needs to get back on track”.
In 2020, the government will continue delivering its social agenda, namely the construction of social housing, he said, adding that Malta will among others also continue to invest in emerging technologies that will generate more employment.