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Labour Party delegates will get the first say in the leadership contest when they vote on 7 January to whittle down the field to two.
It will be the party members who will eventually choose the new leader from the top two candidates in an election that will be held on 11 January.
If only two candidates submit their nomination by the closing date, the contest will be directly decided by party members.
The roadmap for the process was decided on Monday evening by the PL executive that met at party headquarters in Hamrun as supporters gathered outside in a show of force to back Joseph Muscat.
Nominations for the post of leader open on 9 December and close two days later.
The PL general conference will be held on the 6 and 7 January, which is when delegates will vote to send the top two into the final contest.
The members’ congress will take place between the 10 and 12 January in what will be the first time in the party’s history that members get to choose the leader.
The system was introduced by Joseph Muscat shortly after becoming leader in 2008. It was one of several changes to the statute.
The process was kick-started by Muscat after he announced his intention to resign by the 12 January, giving the party time to elect his successor.
The party said in a statement that the PL’s electoral commission along with other relevant structures will be responsible for the electoral process.
Violence and aggression towards journalists is "unacceptable", the Institute for Maltese Journalists said as it condemned fresh incidents that happened in Valletta and Hamrun on Monday.
Journalists were accosted and threatened while covering the protest by civil society NGOs in Valletta and an impromptu gathering of Labour supporters outside party HQ in Hamrun. The incidents come on the back of another incident last week when journalists were kept locked up in Castille at the end of a press conference by the Prime Minister at 3am.
The IGM appealed for calm at this delicate time and urged people to leave journalists fulfill their duty.
"The Institute feels it is intolerable that journalists are obstructed and attacked while at work and the police should afford them protection and take action against anyone who breaks the law," the statement read.
The IGM expressed solidarity with the journalists who were attacked.