Maltese prime minister announces he will resign in January

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Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told the nation Sunday night that he would resign in January following pressure from angry citizens for the truth about the 2017 auto bombing that killed a journalist.

In a televised address to the nation on Sunday, Muscat said he had informed the president that he would resign as leader of the governing Labour Party on 12 January.

"The prime minister has said from the outset that he will leave no stone unturned to solve this despicable murder under his watch and he delivered exactly that with the arraignment of someone who is believed to have commissioned the murder", the source said.

Caruana Galizia's family has asked Muscat to step aside and on Sunday The Maltese civil society organizations held a protest in the capital, Valetta, demanding their immediate departure.

Lawmakers from Malta's ruling Labour Party stood by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat Sunday but did not indicate what he may do next as he faces pressure to quit amid a crisis sparked by the investigation into a murdered journalist.

The meeting came a day after the main suspect in the 2017 auto bomb killing, tycoon Yorgen Fenech, was charged with complicity in the murder and had his assets frozen by a court. Schembri has said he is innocent of any wrongdoing.

He was one of three government officials who stepped down earlier this week after being named in the investigation.

Mr. Schembri resigned early last week, was arrested in connection to the murder probe, detained by police for intensive questioning, and released without charge.

"After the mastermind or masterminds are arraigned in court, he plans to announce that he will be stepping down and that there will be a leadership election on January 18", a party source told AFP.

Investigations by journalists and the authorities have uncovered links between Fenech and the man who until last week was Muscat's chief of staff.

The Prime Minister said that over the past years he had to shoulder responsibility for the government's actions.

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Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in October.

She earned many enemies, was regularly denounced by One, the Maltese broadcaster that is owned by the Labour Party, and received flurries of libel notices, none of which broke her will to expose government corruption.

Vella also called for Muscat as well as his former chief of staff, Keith Schembri.to be "properly investigated" for their "possible involvement in Daphne's assassination".

"It is not right that a person, with her good and bad, who contributed to democracy had to be killed this way".

Muscat, first elected as prime minister in 2013, is serving his second term.

Meanwhile a European Parliament delegation is due to arrive on Malta late Monday and stay until Wednesday.

Muscat had called the snap legislative elections called after his close entourage was accused of corruption by journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Businessman Yorgen Fenech had requested a presidential pardon in exchange for information.

The journalist had sought to expose corruption within Malta's political and business elite.

Among the demonstrators were Caruana Galizia's family, including her parents, who walked at the head of the protest, behind a banner with the word "justice". It was unclear where and when the photo was taken.

Three people are awaiting trial for Caruana Galizia's murder in a vehicle bombing but the police investigation is now focusing on who ordered the killing and why.

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