Robert Abela will remove Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar immediately and replace him with a new appointee if he is elected, the Labour Party leadership candidate said on TVM’s Dissett.
“I’m not happy with parts of the investigation [into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia],” Abela said, naming changing the Police Commissioner as his most important priority.
He explained that a new commissioner would be selected following a public call, and their nomination will be put towards Parliament’s public appointment’s committee.
Crucially, he has also said the media blackouts that have defined the police in recent years will become a thing of the past, saying that press conferences will happen regularly.
Abela reiterated that a change in commissioner is simply not enough, and institutional change is absolutely necessary if the country is to move on from the current political crisis.
“I am not comfortable with how certain institutions are working,” he explained without divulging with bodies these were.
“There are some decisions that will hurt,” he continued.
Abela’s competitor, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne, earlier told Lovin Malta that he would subject the Police Commissioner and the incoming Public Prosecutor to a two-thirds majority vote in Parliament.
While he refrained from saying he will remove him immediately, Cutajar is unlikely to survive the parliamentary vote having faced countless calls for resignation by civil society and the Opposition.
At the start of the interview, Abela was tasked with explaining his warning of a “pact with the devil” when rumours were swirling that the PL parliamentary group had agreed to step aside for Fearne.
While Abela first insisted that the statement was a thing of the past, he later said that he took a stand against the parliamentary group and a plot he said was “not in favour of the party or the country”.
“No one has denied the pact to this day,” he said.