PD spokesperson opts out of bye-election, Farrugia and Briguglio in online tiff

Resignations from PD secretary-general and spokesperson • PD leader Marlene Farrugia calls PN’s new councillor Michael Briguglio ‘a coward’

Denise Grech
30 September 2017, 5:50pm
Marlene Farrugia and Michael Briguglio were both proponents of the 'Forza Nazzjonali' camp during the July snap election
Marlene Farrugia and Michael Briguglio were both proponents of the 'Forza Nazzjonali' camp during the July snap election
Updated with clarification: Michael Briguglio did not suggest that Godfrey Farrugia should resign his seat but that PD should cooperate with the PN on Adrian Delia's co-option

The Democratic Party has been hit by the resignation of both its spokesperson and candidate, Monique Agius, and secretary-general Karl Camilleri.

The resignations were confirmed by PD leader Marlene Farrugia as having been submitted on 11 September. 

Agius also refused to contest the seventh district casual election triggered by the resignation of Jean Pierre Debono. She had garnered just over 70 first-count votes on the seventh district in the 2017 election.

The news follows claims made on Facebook first by Michael Briguglio, the Nationalist councillor for Sliema, who revealed that Agius had refused to contest the casual election.

PD leader Marlene Farrugia had already said she would instruct candidates to contest the casual election triggered by the resignation of any Nationalist MP, so that new PN leader Adrian Delia could be co-opted.

Delia could only find a seat in the House with the resignation of an MP elected by casual election, or if an MP resigns their seat and after triggering the casual election, the winning candidate resigns for Delia’s co-option.

Briguglio, who had once dubbed Marlene Farrugia a “rainbow in the darkness” after successfully being elected as part of the PN-PD’s ‘Forza Nazzjonali’ coalition, accused her of standing in the way of the PN.

“Marlene Farrugia decided to stand in the way and disrespect the democratic will of its coalition partner,” he said, after PD fielded its other candidate, Lee Bugeja Bartolo, for the casual election.

“This has damaged trust in the role of third parties in future coalitions and has spread the butter on PD’s toast. Kudos to Monique Agius who did not follow Marlene’s obstinacy and did not submit nomination. Let us now finish what was started through a strong, reflective and forward-looking PN opposition against the corrupt Labour government.”

PD elected a second candidate, former Labour MP Godfrey Farrugia, by casual election after the PN ceded the second seat won by Beppe Fenech Adami on the seventh district.

Briguglio, who resigned from the Green Party in May 2017 to become a paid-up member of the PN and now local councillor on Sliema for the party, had already warned that PD should not block Adrian Delia’s co-option by contesting the casual elections. On 20th September, he said: “I think Farrugia will commit political suicide if she keeps a non-elected candidate with an odd 100 votes to block Delia, who was elected as PN leader in the most democratic way possible. I hereby advise Marlene not to put anitpathy towards Delia before the democratic process in PN.”

In response to Briguglio, Farrugia said on Facebook that Agius had formed part of the executive which unanimously supported the decision “to stand by PD’s/Forza Nazzjonali battle-cry, but scurried out of her commitment the very next day.”

“PD practices a politics of conviction, not of convenience like Mr Briguglio, who one day was advocating good governance, while switching towards abetting the personification of anti-good governance, the next.

“This is a clear case of ‘ma min rajtek, xebbahtek’ [birds of a feather, flock together]. Such losers tend to stick firmly together,” Farrugia said.

“PD will stand for its country, notwithstanding the fact that cowards like Mr Briguglio et al prefere to stand aside and watch their country toasted by one shady party with two sleazy heads, for the own imaginary political future.”