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Daphne Caruana Galizia, a prominent Maltese blogger, who had accused the island’s government of corruption, has died in a car bomb attack, according to police.

The 53-year-old was reportedly killed when the car she was driving exploded shortly after she left her home in Bidnija, near Mosta.

According to local media, one of her sons heard the blast and rushed outside.

PM Joseph Muscat, whom Daphne Caruana Galizia accused of wrongdoing earlier this year, denounced the killing.

“I condemn without reservations this barbaric attack on a person and on the freedom of expression in our country,” the prime minister said in a TV statement.

“Everyone knows Ms Caruana Galizia was a harsh critic of mine, both politically and personally, as she was for others too.”

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However, Joseph Muscat stressed there could be “no justification… in any way” for such action.

“I will not rest before justice is done.”

On October 16, thousands of people attended a candlelit vigil in the resort town of Sliema.

Malta Television reported that Daphne Caruana Galizia had filed a complaint to the police two weeks ago to say she had received threats but gave no further information.

Police have opened a murder inquiry.

Newspaper reports said the explosion had left debris from the rental car she was driving strewn across the road and in a nearby field.

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s death comes four months after Joseph Muscat’s Labor Party won an election he called early because of the blogger’s allegations linking him and his wife to the Panama Papers scandal.

The couple denied claims that they had used secret offshore bank accounts to hide payments from Azerbaijan’s ruling family.

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s popular blog had also targeted opposition politicians, calling the country’s political situation “desperate” in her final post.

Malta has asked for international help – including the FBI in the US – to find the perpetrator, the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, Daphne Caruana Galizia’s family has requested that the magistrate in charge of the investigation be replaced, the Malta Independent reports.

It said the current magistrate had on a number of occasions been the subject of criticism by Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Malta’s Labour party is returning to power after 15 years in opposition, with a projected win of 55% of the vote in the eurozone state’s election.

Party leader Joseph Muscat claimed a “landslide victory” for his party, with the outgoing Nationalist Party expected to take 43% of the ballots.

Unlike other eurozone states, Malta has prospered in recent years, and the economy did not dominate the campaign.

The Nationalists fell in December after losing their one-seat majority.

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi had been in office for just under a decade.

Joseph Muscat, 39, made change the big theme of his campaign.

His main electoral pledge was to reduce electricity prices – believed to be among the highest in the world – by 25%.

Joseph Muscat also promised to do more to tackle corruption.

“I wasn’t expecting such a landslide victory for Labour,” he said after the count in Naxxar, outside the capital Valletta.

“We must all remain calm, tomorrow is another day.”

Malta's Labour party is returning to power after 15 years in opposition

Malta’s Labour party is returning to power after 15 years in opposition

Conceding defeat, Lawrence Gonzi said he took full responsibility for the Nationalists’ poor result and would not seek re-election as party leader.

“The Nationalist Party needs to begin a reform process and at the same remain rooted in its values,” he said.

Malta, with a population of more than 400,000, is the smallest and one of the most successful economies in the eurozone.

With its strong tourism and financial services sector, the archipelago has relatively low unemployment, a good growth rate and low government debt.

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