(Adds further comments by Dr Muscat and video)

New Labour leader Joseph Muscat had an informal meeting with the Prime Minister this morning when it was agreed that issues such as parliamentary business, including pairing, will be discussed once the MLP completes the election of its deputy leaders next week.

Drs Gonzi and Muscat met after the June 7 ceremony in Valletta.

Dr Muscat told a press conference this morning that the Labour Party was prepared to cooperate with the government on national issues, such as the situation at ST Microelectronics and Malta Shipyards, as long as it was seen as an equal partner.

The new party leader said his election marked a new chapter for the MLP. People his age were fed up of a situation where politicians said one thing and did another, or nothing at all, he said. The status quo had to end.

Dr Muscat paid tribute to George Abela, his main rival in the leadership election, and said he wished to entrust him with a major project for the MLP, but did not wish to say more until he had discussed it with him. He also thanked the other leadership contenders with whom, he said, he also looked forward to working.

Dr Muscat also paid tribute to all former Labour leaders, describing Mr Mintoff as the "father of the MLP" and Dr Sant as having been the party who made the party modern and well organised.

Charles Mangion will be staying on as leader of the opposition at least until the election of the new deputy leaders next week. Dr Muscat said several MPs had offered to give up their seat in Parliament so that he could take up his place in the House.

He also said he would be working for early elections of the MLP administration.


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