Busuttil is not giving any press conference after suffering staggering defeat

PN leader Simon Busuttil fails to show up in Naxxar counting hall and no press conference planned

Despite conceding defeat, Nationalist leader Simon Busuttil will not be calling a press conference to give an official reaction.

He has instead opted to give a televised statement.

Unlike Busuttil, in 2013 his predecessor Lawrence Gonzi had immediately called a press conference to announce that he would be stepping down after taking full responsibility for the crushing defeat.  

However, despite losing by a similar margin, Busuttil’s only statement came at 11:26am through a tweet in which he said “I have just called Joseph Muscat to concede. As always, we respect the decision of the electorate.”

Busuttil did not visit the counting hall and left it to his his deputy leaders Mario de Marco and Beppe Fenech Adami to face the press and raise the moral of the party’s candidates and agents in Naxxar.

The two deputy leaders put on a brave face and while thanking voters and supporters, they said the party must now look to the future.

Busuttil was expected to address a press conference but PN sources have now said that ­­­there are no plans for any such statements for the time being. 

Busuttil is expected to follow in the footsteps of Gonzi and resign after leading his party to a third crushing defeat in four years. After becoming party leader in the wake of the 2013 general election defeat, Busuttil led the party to a mammoth defeat in the 2014 European Parliament elections in which the PN lost by 34,000 votes. Although the defeat was sweetened by the election of three seats out of six, the PN had failed to make any inroads in what was an opportunity to clip Muscat’s wings.

Three years later, despite reinvigorating the PN, Busuttil has led the party to yet another defeat.

In recent weeks, Busuttil refused to commit himself over his future when asked whether he would step down if the PN fails to win the election.

“What happens to me personally, is completely secondary. I am not that important in the equation of what I will do if this [winning] does not happen,” Busuttil told MaltaToday last week.

The PN statute states that the leader must submit himself to a vote of confidence after a general election. However, if the leader decides to step down, this will lead to a leadership contest as happened in 2013.