Mr Muscat, who will officially step down tomorrow, congratulated Mr Abela on his victory and said he is proud to be handing the prime minister’s office over to him on Monday.
Mr Muscat stood down after his chief of staff, Keith Schembri, was arrested and questioned in connection with the killing of Caruana Galizia. Mr Schembri was later released but is still under investigation.
Caruana Galizia was known for her reporting on corruption at the highest levels in Maltese politics and business. Loose financial and banking rules have made Malta an attractive place for money launderers. She had reported threats shortly before her death.
Three men are facing trial for carrying out the assassination, while a fourth, prominent Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech, has been charged with complicity in the murder. He denies wrongdoing.