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New PN directors to be appointed as Adrian Delia consolidates power

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia's next step is to appoint three salaried directors in the roles of assistants to the prospective secretary-general

yannick_pace
Yannick Pace
21 November 2017, 8:20am
PN leader Adrian Delia is close to consolidating his hold on the party structures, after seeing his personal choice of secretary-general run uncontested, and his right-hand man taking control of Media.Link, the party’s media arm.

His next step now is to appoint salaried directors in the roles of assistants to the prospective secretary-general, Nationalist MP Clyde Puli: namely, Angelito Sciberras, and incumbent assistant secretary-general Jean Pierre Debono. Debono’s wife Kristy Debono, the MP, was recently elected president of the General Council.

But the party’s newly-appointed spokesperson, David Bonello, was unable to confirm the prospective directors’ posts. “I do not know yet, because I still need to find out myself.” When asked about the salaries the new directors will be receiving, Bonello was equally stumped. “I definitely don’t know that.” 

Nationalist Party MEP David Casa was left fuming after Puli filed a last-minute nomination on Friday afternoon, soon after the MEP announced he would not enter the race. Party insiders said Casa was under the impression he would be contesting Pierre Portelli, and that he withdrew after considering his lean chances at securing the post.

Nationalist MEP David Casa withdrew from the race for secretary-general a day before MP Clyde Puli filed a last-minute bid for the post, so that he could run uncontested
Nationalist MEP David Casa withdrew from the race for secretary-general a day before MP Clyde Puli filed a last-minute bid for the post, so that he could run uncontested
Indeed the post looked set to be filled either by Portelli, who ran the Malta Independent from 2013 up until Delia’s election victory, or Casa – the only other person to have voiced interest in the post. 

Then on Thursday, Casa announced on Facebook that after discussing the matter with Delia, he felt he was “better positioned to serve the party as an MEP”.

But Delia seemed to have made it a point to keep his ally Clyde Puli’s intention to run for secretary-general a secret.

Then on Friday, just seven minutes before nominations for the post of secretary-general closed at 12pm, the party announced Portelli would be taking up the role of executive chairman of Media.link – the party’s media wing – and that Puli had submitted his nomination for secretary-general with just five minutes to spare, allowing him to run uncontested.

When contacted, Casa argued that he had taken his decision not to run independently of the candidate he would be running against. 

“I took my decision so that I could continue defending Malta in the European Parliament. Naturally, I spoke with the leader and he also appreciated that my experience in European institutions couldn’t simply be thrown away,” said Casa, adding that at no point had he discussed anyone else’s candidature with Delia. 

Moreover, he said Puli was a friend of his, and a person who would “be a good secretary-general”.

Pressed on whether he was surprised by what seemed like an orchestrated move, and whether he would still have taken his decision had he known Portelli would be taking up the Media.Link job, Casa insisted he had never discussed anyone else’s nomination for the post with Delia. 

“I had already decided that I would not be contesting… if there was any manoeuvring, I am not aware of it,” he said. 

Despite Casa’s assertions, MaltaToday’s sources insisted that Casa was not impressed by the move.

The source said that when Puli had originally announced he would be not be running for the post of deputy leader as he originally intended, few thought he would go for the role of secretary-general, a spot seemingly reserved for Delia’s right-hand man Pierre Portelli. 

The party’s ‘Delia sceptics’ were said to have been irritated by the move, in part motivated by the lack of interest in the PN deputy leadership elections: only 11,546 or 64% of the 19,350 eligible votes were collected, some 4,000 less than those who collected their voting document ahead of September’s leadership election.

Puli’s salary ‘being negotiated’

Puli told MaltaToday that his salary as secretary general was still being negotiated. 

Moreover, he confirmed that he will be leaving his current job at the Foundation for Medical Services in order to be able to take on the duties of his new post fulltime. 

Puli also confirmed he has every intention of contesting the next general election.

Additional reporting by Tia Reljic

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Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...