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128 vote in early PN election as more complaints surface online

Amid allegations of offshore accounts and ‘rigged’ elections, 128 councillors cast their vote in the preliminary round of the PN leadership election

miriam
Miriam Dalli
27 August 2017, 1:06pm
A total of 128 Nationalist Party councillors cast their vote in the preliminary round of the leadership election on Saturday, as the party prepares to elect a successor for Simon Busuttil.

The first round will take place on Saturday, with a second round, if needed, slated for Sunday to shortlist two candidates. The final round of elections is on September 16.

But even this leadership election, with the campaigning taking place during the quieter summer months and three months after the general election, has its own fair share of controversy.

Adrian Delia, who started off as “the winning horse” as described by many, is now facing the possibility of expulsion over revelations that there existed a Jersey account in his name, which was used to launder money derived from London prostitution – specifically in Soho.

Because, even though a group of 128 councillors – out of the 920 who collected their voting documents by Friday – cast their votes yesterday in the early round, the PN’s Administrative Council will be holding “an urgent meeting” on Monday to discuss Delia’s situation.

The extent of the decision that can be taken by the council is unknown and the meeting is only taking place upon the request of councillor Charlot Cassar – who has found himself fending off accusations that he was favouring one candidate over another. He later took to Facebook to post photos with both Delia and Chris Said in a bid to show that he had been attending activities of all the contenders.

“What I am recommending is that due diligence is carried out sooner rather than later, and this principle should apply to all candidates, especially if they face similar allegations. If we ignore information now, it will come back to haunt us and used as a weapon against us later. So why hand the opponents the weapons to attack us with?” Cassar said in a Facebook post on Saturday.

To complicate matters further, the Nationalist Party has also found itself fending off accusations – made by leadership hopeful Frank Portelli – of “rigged elections”.

Portelli has questioned the reason why the Electoral Commission has refused to allow candidates to rubberstamp the voting documents.

 

‘We are just numbers’

The less-than-serene election process has also raised the ire of several party activists, leading to people like Roderick Caruana to post a video on Facebook to reveal the extent of the frustration the election is causing.

Caruana was two years asked to contest the local council elections on a PN ticket. He later became a member of the sectional committee of Rahal Gdid, which he argues gives him an automatic right to vote in the first round of elections – meaning that he gets to take part in choosing the two candidates that face off in the final round.

However, due to a mistake allegedly carried out by the committee’s secretary, Caruana’s voting document was not issued. His attempts to reach out to the party’s electoral commission failed miserably after he was told that there was nothing the commission could do.

“I was told that the mistake could not be corrected because of risks that candidates might start bringing in more voters,” Caruana said. “But I’ve been here for two years. Why don’t you [commission] want to give me a vote? Is the commission working for a particular candidate?”

Commission head Joe Borg would have allegedly told Caruana that “we know how to choose the best two and you can vote in the second round”.

Caruana argued that the comment was just the PN closing its door in his face, accusing the party of treating activists like numbers, using them during election time and then throwing them away.

Whilst admitting to not knowing who the infamous “klikka” was, he insisted that this clique was still in control of the party. He insisted that the PN’s “arrogant attitude” was pushing further people away.

“What open doors? The doors are locked and the only way I can deliver my message by becoming a laughing stock… just imagine how many people are making fun of me because of this video,” Caruana said.

miriam
Miriam Dalli joined MaltaToday.com.mt in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...