Activists who staged a sit-in protest inside Auberge de Castille on Monday are the latest voices in a growing chorus of calls for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat to step down immediately.
Since the fall-out of the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation, dozens of NGOs, professional associations, media houses, student organisations and one government entity have made public calls for Dr Muscat to go.
Thousands of people have attended 10 protests over the past few weeks organised by civil society groups demanding the prime minister to hold political responsibility for the assassination of the journalist. Leftist action group Moviment Graffiti, have added their voices to those shouting ‘barra’ (out), accusing the Labour government of betraying its socialist roots.
Some 360 socialists have signed a letter expressing “outrage” at the situation, including how “the business class has gained unprecedented power over politics”.
The University of Malta’s student union KSU, the NGOs Aditus, UĦM-Voice of the Workers, Isles of the Left, Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar and Friends of the Earth Malta have also added their voices to anti-Muscat protests.
A petition signed by over 300 University of Malta academics has called on the prime minister to either “resign or be removed”.
Independent media houses, including Times of Malta, Lovin Malta, The Malta Independent, The Shift News and Malta Today have used their editorials or supported protests to call on the prime minister to step down.
The Nationalist Party has made repeated calls for Dr Muscat to step down, saying his position “is no longer tenable, and causing more damage to Malta.” Its MPs walked out of Parliament and said they would not attend for as long as he remains in office.
Partit Demokratiku argued that Dr Muscat be removed as prime minister, saying that “ambition to preside over the conclusion of the investigations fuelled suspicions that there was an attempt to manipulate the course of justice and escape from it himself”.
Alternattiva Demokratika also described Dr Muscat’s position as “untenable” and that his behaviour “sent the message that corruption was tolerated”.
Independent MPs, Godfrey and Marlene Farrugia, have made
One of Dr Muscat’s former advisers, Cyrus Engerer, said he had told the prime minister that he should resign immediately.
On Monday, former Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi, said Dr Muscat’s resignation should take place with immediate effect.
“Country FIRST, please!” she posted on her Facebook page.
Several professional associations have also been vocal about Muscat’s delayed resignation, but many have stopped short of saying he should resign immediately.
The Malta Employers’ Association, however, made a blunt call saying: “In view of all the skeletons that are being dragged out of the public closets it would be better for the prime minister to do the right thing for himself and the country and resign immediately.”
In a strong warning about the impact of the current situation on Malta’s reputation, the Institute of Financial Services Practitioners called for “anyone, at any level of our society and in any institution, who cannot take decisions objectively for any reasons… should step back immediately and allow others to take these decisions in the best interest of the country”.
The Malta Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it was time for the prime minister to “do the right thing” as the government’s reputation had now been “tarnished by a long and heavy shadow it cannot shake or shrug off”.
The Malta Institute of Accountants also called for people in top positions to "make way now to avoid further reputational damage for Malta".
Cancelling a seminar scheduled to take place last week, the Malta Institute of Taxation also made it clear that it thought Dr Muscat should step down.
Lawyers, represented by the Chamber of Advocates, said that the prime minister should resign imminently in order to preserve justice and avoid any perceived or real interference in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation.
The GRTU, which represents SMEs and retailers, was also blunt. Dr Muscat has to "go now", the union said in a statement last week.