The Prime Minister should have asked Chris Cardona to step aside, at least until his name is cleared, according to former opposition leader Simon Busuttil.

It was a "significant" development that the Daphne Project had quoted two sources claiming they saw the Economy Minister speaking to one of the men accused of killed Daphne Caruana Galizia in a Siggiewi bar.

"This calls for an investigation, yet, he has not even been called in by the police for an interrogation," the Nationalist Party MP for good governance told Times Talk.

In his first interview since stepping down as Nationalist Party leader after last year's electoral defeat, Dr Busuttil was in combative mode.

Though Dr Cardona has fought back the claims, he had contradicted himself in his denials, the PN MP said.

"First, he said 'I don't remember', then he said 'never', then he said 'it well may be.'”

Asked if he considered Dr Cardona a suspect, he replied: "If two sources have seen him talking to one of the accused what more do you need for the police to interrogate him?"

Dr Busuttil said the country is "blocked" because the government had created a dangerous stalemate in which the institutions were politically captured by Joseph Muscat.

Questioned about his decision to constantly resort to court to seek justice, Dr Busuttil said a number of members of the judiciary provided the last chance to save democracy in Malta.

This is straight out of a totalitarian system… You cannot use democracy to subvert democracy

He said he was stunned that the prime minister’s only reaction to the Daphne Project has been “defiance, confrontation and sowing division among an already-divided society”.

Dr Muscat was not even bothering to defend himself, Dr Cardona, Dr Mizzi and Mr Schembri but instead was now rallying people to the streets in his support.

“This is straight out of a totalitarian system… You cannot use democracy to subvert democracy, to try get away with murder and corruption. That’s how democracy is killed.”

He said he was shocked by the sheer venom expressed by government supporters, especially on social media, against those who bothered to speak up.

Asked if the change in leadership has changed the party’s agenda, with more focus on bread-and-butter issues rather than corruption, Dr Busuttil replied: “I’m still here. I’m still a member of PN, and I’m a member of parliament. And I’m there for a reason, because I’m determined to finish what we started," adding that party leader Adrian Delia was backing his cause.

Asked if he regretted quitting the PN leadership, Dr Busuttil replied: “I was the only person in public office who assumed his political responsibility and stepped down following electoral defeat. Others who have far more serious reasons to resign never did”.


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