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More than 100 local artists call for Jason Micallef to quit Valletta 2018

Chairman causing 'irreparable damage' to cultural event, petitioners write

Mr Micallef. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

Mr Micallef. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

More than 100 local artists, authors and arts managers have added their name to a petition calling for Valletta 2018 chairman Jason Micallef's "immediate resignation". 

The open letter, which was sent to Justice Minister Owen Bonnici and Valletta 2018 parliamentary secretary Deo Debattista, argues that Mr Micallef's "derogatory" public comments about the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia" and partisan commentary was causing "irreparable damage to the reputation, programme and leadership of Valletta 2018."

"The role of a chairman of a European Capital of Culture cannot be partisan in attitude and purposely divisive in action," the petitioners wrote. 

"Using artists, culture and Valletta 2018 for political expedience is shocking and outrageous. This is a legacy that the Maltese cultural sector does not need or want."

More than 100 names are attached to the letter, with petitioners writing that a further 24 endorsed the letter but asked for their names to remain confidential. 

The public letter is just the latest in a series of calls urging Mr Micallef to step aside, after he was dismissive of a memorial to Ms Caruana Galizia set up in Valletta and then posted an inflammatory Facebook post echoing her final written words on St Patrick's Day.

Just last week, a group of prominent international writers, including household names such as Salman Rushdie and Ian McEwan, slammed the Valletta 2018 chairman as "outrageous" and called for him to step aside. 

Three days later, a group of 72 MEPs endorsed that letter and added their name to calls for Mr Micallef's resignation.

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