Malta's Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will resign in mid-January, he said in a statement on Sunday. Muscat's resignation comes amid the investigation into the death of prominent investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed by a car bomb in October 2017. Muscat had informed associates of his plan to resign imminently, the Times of Malta reported on Friday.
The decision caused by the political and legal maelstrom into the investigation, according to the paper.
Caruana Galizia had been investigating alleged corruption within the government. Her family and protesters have accused Muscat of trying to shield members of his inner circle from the ongoing investigation into her death.
"Every single day of these past two years I have shouldered responsibilities and taken decisions. I made decisions in the best interest for the conclusion of the case and I am convinced that some decisions were good while others could have been better," Muscat said in his statement.
"The sensations of genuine sadness and anger for this murder are justified," he said. "In the same manner, violence, and disorder, within the pretext of a protest, are not justified in a democracy."
Caruana Galizia was killed in the car bomb just down the road from her home as she drove to the bank. Her family says she was "assassinated" because of her work uncovering alleged corruption in the Maltese government.
Her journalism - including her research into Maltese citizens implicated in the Panama Papers - had made her some very powerful enemies. The Panama Papers are the name for the leak of millions of files from the database of a Panama law firm called Mossack Fonseca in 2016.
The journalist had suffered intimidation over the years -- her dog's throat was cut, and in 2006 her house was set on fire as the family slept, tires piled against the back door to prevent them escaping.
Shortly before her death, in what was to be the final entry on her blog Running Commentary, she wrote: "There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate."
Three men were formally charged in July with murder in connection with the incident. All three suspects pleaded not guilty during pre-trial proceedings.