Labour MP Robert Abela will be running to become the party's new leader next month, he announced on Saturday. 

Dr Abela made his intentions clear in a brief Facebook post, saying that he would be submitting his nomination after hearing “the people’s love”. 

He is the second candidate for the post to replace Joseph Muscat as party leader and Prime Minister, after deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne said on Friday that he would be contesting.

Shortly before Mr Fearne announced his candidature, Dr Abela had posted a cryptically-worded Facebook post saying that he was not willing to enter into “diabolical pacts” just in order to project an impression of party unity.

Elected to parliament in 2017, Dr Abela is the son of former President George Abela, who had also contested the Labour leadership, losing out to Joseph Muscat. His wife Lydia, is the Labour Party's executive secretary.

The Labour Party will elect a new leader to replace Joseph Muscat on January 12.

Mr Fearne, the health minister and deputy prime minister, has emerged as the clear favourite after the scandal which hit the Office of the Prime Minister amid the fallout of the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder inquiry. Several ministers and backbenchers have already pledged their support to him. 

More to follow

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