Franco Debono this afternoon called on Lawrence Gonzi to resign, saying the decisions announced today confirmed the government's mistakes over the past four years.

He also told that he agreed with Joseph Muscat's call for a confidence debate in Parliament and, he insisted, he would vote against the government.

"I have no confidence in people like (Dr) Gonzi, he is a prime minister not a god, the country is going through a lot of hardship because of his stubbornness. I have no confidence in the government whatsoever," Dr Debono said.

A 'no' vote by a Nationalist MP in a confidence debate would rob the government of its one-seat majority and would probably cause its downfall. Late last year Dr Debono abstained in a confidence vote against Transport Minister Austin Gatt but in that situation the government was able to scrape through thanks to the Speaker's casting vote, a situation which cannot be repeated if Dr Debono's vote is against, rather than an abstention.

Dr Debono had earlier today expressed his disappointment over the Cabinet changes announced by the prime minister and confirmed he would not support the government in Parliament.

"What happened today means that Lawrence Gonzi, who did not resign after blatantly disrespecting the will of the majority expressed in a referendum, must now resign immediately since this is an admission that the country has gone through four years of suffering uselessly," Dr Debono said.

He said the mistakes the government was admitting to included the way the justice and home affairs portfolios had been lumped together, and the raise to ministers given in 2008 and now rescinded.

Today's decisions, he said, also meant that there were characters lurking in the background and manipulating behind the scenes. "It also means that I have been right all along and every advice I have given should have been implemented without causing undue suffering to this nation, and to me."

 He said that last night and this morning he had warned Dr Gonzi.

"He should call a general election, I will not support this nonsense, this is the rape of the soul of the nation," Dr Debono said.

"I will not support an oligarchy in parliament as I was elected in a democracy."

Asked how, in the morning, he had said he would remain on the prime minister's side and now he was calling for his resignation, Dr Debono said he would have been by his side had correct decisions been taken, but Dr Gonzi showed today that he was not leading, and the oligarchy, the clique around him, had had its way. 

"I will therefore not support him, he can call the election."

Dr Debono also reiterated his complaints after the government's rejection of his draft party financing bill.  He said that after his draft was shelved, a new one that was subsequently presented - and criciticsed - by the Council of Europe body Greco was prepared by former president Ugo Mifsud Bonnici.

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