[WATCH] Adrian Delia sworn in as Opposition leader

The Nationalist Party leader said the Opposition would be working to give a voice to the country's minorities and to ensure the even distribution of wealth

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Yannick Pace
6 October 2017, 7:52pm
Adrian Delia's youngest son joins in the family congratatulations after his father is sworn in as Opposition leader. (Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Adrian Delia's youngest son joins in the family congratatulations after his father is sworn in as Opposition leader. (Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Opposition Leader Adrian Delia answers on IVF and hunting just after swearing in
Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia was this evening sworn in as leader of the Opposition at the palace in Valletta.

In a short ceremony led by President of the Republic Marie Louise Coleiro Preca, Delia took his oath of office, with his wife and children by his side. The majority of the members of the Nationalist Party’s parliamentary group were present, as were Peter Micallef and Jean-Pierre Debono, both of whom gave up their seat to allow Delia to become an MP. Former leader Simon Busuttil was not present.

Addressing journalists after the ceremony, Delia - who arrived over an hour late - thanked his family for their support and said he was looking forward to working to give a voice to the country’s workers and the weakest in society.

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia was sworn in as leader of the Opposition this evening. (Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia was sworn in as leader of the Opposition this evening. (Photo by James Bianchi/MediaToday)
“The leader of the Opposition does not only represent the party but I also the aspirations of the people,” he said, adding that the Opposition needed to ensure that all citizens were represented and not only the majority that had voted for the present government.

“We must represent minorities who might not have a voice, those who don’t have a colour and who might not be heard or seen,” he said. 

He said that it was the Opposition’s job to, above all, highlight that which people were concerned about.

Furthermore, he said the government’s job also involved scrutinising the government’s actions.

“We must criticise in a constructive manner, not only the way laws are passed, but also the way the government goes about its daily job, how it governs and administers the country,” said Delia.

The new Opposition leader insisted that it is not governments that create wealth in a country. “[Governments] create opportunity. It is our shops and our workers, with their hard work who create wealth.”

Finally, he said government had the obligation to ensure that the wealth generated translate to a better for the Maltese people.

“We must humbly win people over and show them that we can improve their lives, even from the Opposition’s benches,” he said. 

On Wednesday, the day Delia took his oath as MP, the PN filed a motion in parliament against news rules that allow medical leave for people travelling abroad for in vitro fertilisation treatment.

The party has said that the reason the motion was presented was to ensure conformity in Malta’s laws, since the definition in “prospective parents” in Malta’s Embryo Protection Act and in the legal notice passed were different, with the latter including individuals in a civil union, cohabitation arrangement and long-term relationship. The Embryo Protection act defines prospective parents as married heterosexual couples.

Asked whether the PN would support the government if it were to opt to change the definition in the Embryo Protection Act to include those who are cohabiting or in a civil union, Delia claimed that the PN’s motion did not “comment or pass amendments on who could” qualify for IVF leave.

Delia insisted that through the legal notice, the government had introduced legislation by stealth.

“The government in fact immediately understood what we said,” claimed Delia. “[The government] said we must follow the Oppositions amendment or else we will be breaking the law ourselves and I don’t think the government wants to create legal notices that go against the main principle. If we created a law to safeguard the life of the embryo we have to see that every other law follows.”

Delia said that if the government wanted to change the Embryo Protection Act, it should openly discuss it and “not introduce it by stealth”. 

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