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Muscat indicates he will stay on at least until Euro Parliament elections

Air Malta to operate routes from Italy to London

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Sunday morning hinted that he would not step down from the helm of the Labour Party until next year’s MEP elections.

Addressing a political activity in Qormi, Dr Muscat said he would be sticking with his plan to only serve for two terms as prime minister, amid calls from supporters to stay on.

“When you asked me to serve I answered that call. My family and I always had a plan and we will be sticking to that plan. But, just as you did not stop working half way, neither will I. There is still a lot left to be done,” he said.

Dr Muscat said that his focus as the party leader would now turn to next year’s MEP elections, indicating that his departure from the top spot would not take place until after the country went to the polls next year.

Last week Dr Muscat had confirmed during a radio interview that he would not be running for another term.

In his one-hour speech, Dr Muscat on Sunday also revealed that as part of efforts to get back on its feet, Air Malta will be operating new services, from Sicily to London and from Sardenia to London.

He defended the government’s decision to stick by the controversial passports-for-cash programme.

The Individual Investor Programme is set to be extended after the 1,800 quota was reached earlier this year.

Dr Muscat said the IIP had injected vital investment into the country that was driving it forward. And, while some might criticise the idea of selling citizenship in the first place or the safeguarding systems in place, Dr Muscat said it was changing Maltese people’s lives.

I know that, despite certain criticism against the IIP programme, it is changing lives and this gives us the strength and the courage to push on

He told the party faithful how new medical equipment had been purchased using IIP funds that put Malta at the forefront of treating certain ailments.

“When I hear about how a new CAT suite, purchased through these funds, is saving lives, and has placed Malta as one of the best countries to receive this treatment in Europe, I know that, despite certain criticism against the programme, it is changing lives and this gives us the strength and the courage to push on,” Dr Muscat said.

A fired up Dr Muscat then went on to draw a distinction between his administration and those that had preceded it.

“This week I had some time to reflect on the difference between this government and previous one. The difference is clear, while others simply administrated this country, we are leading it forward,” he said.

To administrate the country, Dr Muscat said, was to leave its success up to chance, to lead on the other hand, was to leave one’s comfort zone, confront problems, find ways to solve them, and grow from these challenges.

“If the day had more hours, we’d have more work to fill it with,” he said.

Illustrating his point further, Dr Muscat said that while previous administrations had been plagued by out of stock medication, this had not only been resolved but Malta was making plans to become the first country in the world to eradicate Hepatitis C.

“That’s what you get when you leave it in the hands of dilatants. That was the problem facing the country,” he said.

The Labour administration has been facing mounting criticism from sections of civil society who insist the rule of law on the island had failed. Dr Muscat said he welcomed criticism, and urged supporters to cool their heads if and when certain lines were crossed.

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