Austin Gatt's head of secretariat, Manwel Delia (left) is the PN's new candidate on the fifth district - Franco Debono's former battleground.
Announcing that the PN executive had approved a ban on allowing MPs Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, Jesmond Mugliett and Franco Debono from contesting the PN ticket at the next elections, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi announced 10 new candidates to the party list, confirming it will be sending in party-backed candidates to scoop up Franco Debono's votes and appeal to wavering voters in traditional working and middle-class districts.
Albert Fenech - surgeon
Top-class cardiologist Albert Fenech starts his political foray on the PN ticket, hoping he can bank on his professional capability, charm and all-round nice-guy image. While medical professionals tend to enjoy a good deal of trust from the electorate, Fenech can be expected to be fielded in middle-class, pale blue districts to shore up like-minded liberal voters who might be wavering.
Gejtu Vella - former UHM boss
As expected, despite his casual denials, Gejtu Vella is now in his natural home. Having had a sterling career as secretary-general of the Union Haddiema Maqghudin, with its traditional pro-PN leaning, Vella will be an asset for the PN with working class voters who have felt the brunt of inflation and rising utility rates.
Mark Anthony Sammut - councillor
Gudja councillor for the PN, Mark Anthony Sammut at 26 is one of the PN's young Turks who displays his clear political thought in his personal blog. An engineer by profession, and accomplished pianist, he will be gunning for the votes in the fourth district, where Jesmond Mugliett had his constituency.
Manuel Delia - Austin Gatt's 'enforcer'
Having spent years at the flank of transport minister Austin Gatt, Manuel Delia - who joined the PN's ranks at a young age and led the student protests of 1997 against the Labour government's stipend reform - will be running on the fifth district. Delia, the author of the public transport reform, nearly cost his boss Austin Gatt his job when Franco Debono threatened to support an Opposition motion of no-confidence in Gatt.
Claudio Grech - Austin Gatt man, IT advisor
Claudio Grech was Austin Gatt's head of secretariat, having assisted in the piloting of the e-government revolution and negotiating the Smart City deal with Dubai's Tecom, before landing the CEO's job at SmartCity Malta while also being the politically appointed chairman of the Malta IT Agency. He now serves as IT advisor to Austin Gatt and is close to the party leadership. He also assisted the anti-divorce movement during the 2011 referendum.
Therese Comodini Cachia - human rights lawyer
Therese Comodini Cachia (right, with Gonzi) is considered to be one of Malta's leading lawyers on international human rights, having clinched success on several cases inside the European Court of Human Rights. She recently became part of the legal team assisting the Public Broadcasting Services in hearings before the Broadcasting Authority.
Other new candidates
Ryan Callus - MZPN international secretary and Siggiewi deputy mayor; Ian Spiteri; Mario Rizzo Naudi, MD.