Divorce is 'civil right' - Labour leader
Labour leader Joseph Muscat yesterday insisted divorce is a "civil right" as he underlined the importance of creating a coexistence between lay and Catholic values.
"Without any doubt my position is pro-divorce and I want this country to have this civil right," he said, during a television programme recording to mark his first 100 days at the helm of the MLP.
Dr Muscat proclaimed himself in favour of divorce before the June election for party leader and last month said he was prepared to present a bill in Parliament to introduce it in Malta.
His views are in stark contrast with Archbishop Paul Cremona's, who last week said that legislation leading to divorce would weaken society.
Dr Muscat said that while he did not expect the Church to come out in favour of divorce, he believed that in a lay society one should have the right to practise one's chosen religion without imposing one's values on others.
He reiterated his intention to give Labour MPs a free vote on the issue but said he was not prepared to present the bill unless Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi declared that Nationalist MPs would also be able to vote according to their conscience.
Dr Muscat stressed that the government should maintain its electoral promises and not hide behind the volatile international scenario. He said that the international problems existed before the March general election and whoever penned the PN's electoral programme was well aware of them.
Speaking about the shipyards issue, Dr Muscat said it would have been easy for his party to score political points, but he did not want to put the livelihood of workers and their families at risk.
Dr Muscat said that while the MLP was now a pro-EU party, this did not mean there was no place for those who were still sceptical.
He also confirmed that James Piscopo would be assuming the new post of party CEO, but did not say what impact this new appointment would have on general secretary Jason Micallef.
Asked about his biggest successes and mistakes in his first 100 days, Dr Muscat said he was happy to be collaborating with George Abela, who was his main adversary in the race for the leader post.
But the Labour leader said he would not say he had "no regrets" about any decisions or statements he might have made, in a veiled reference to a comment made by former opposition leader Alfred Sant just before the March election.