Nationalist MPs Clyde Puli, Kristy Debono and Mario Galea will not contest

Nationalist MPs Clyde Puli, Kristy Debono and Mario Galea will not be contesting the 2022 elections

Clyde Puli, Kristy Debono, and Mario Galea
Clyde Puli, Kristy Debono, and Mario Galea

The longstanding Nationalist MP from Qormi, Clyde Puli, will not contest the next general election, he announced on Facebook.

Nationalist MPs Kristy Debono and Mario Galea, a former parliamentary secretary for the elderly, also announced they will not contest the elections.

All three had been supporters of the candidature of former Nationalist leader Adrian Delia.

All there were not present in the candidates’ line-up unveiled by PN leader Bernard Grech on Monday morning. He was a shadow education minister and formerly a secretary-general for the PN, as well as a parliamentary secretary for youth and culture, in the Lawrence Gonzi administration.

Puli served in four parliamentary legislatures, as well as having served for three local council terms including as Qormi mayor, and 30 years within the PN structures as president of the college of local councillors. “I thank all leaders I worked with, in particular Eddie Fenech Adami... Lawrence Gonzi... and more recently Adria Delia... I served under five different heads and administrations with honesty, integrity, loyalty, and a determination to carry out each mission I was entrusted with,” Puli said.

Puli had resigned as party secretary-general in January 2020. “I did not expect any help but I also did not expect that, with ever step forward I made, there would be someone tripping me up and kicking me at the ankles so that afterwards they would accuse me of not running fast enough,” he said.

Puli had also accused MPs of “selective and continuous” leaks, by those who refused to accept Delia as party leader had proven disruptive.

He served on the sixth district.

Mario Galea, a third district MP and former Cabinet member, also withdrew his candidature.

Galea, 59, wished the PN success for the election, declaring that he was making room for younger blood inside the PN.

“I have been following that debate well enough since it started inside the party and the way it spread outside, that established MPs had to withdraw from politics to give a chance to new and younger MPs, something I know you were in favour of.

“Peronsally, I think the parliamentary group needs a healthy balance of experienced MPs and new ones. There has always been this mix of new and young candidates along with us in every election. The choice of who hets to be an MP is ultimately that of the people. Nobody who dedicated their life to the party and the country, in full honesty without ever being tarnished, should be discarded simply because they have been elected for a long time.”

Kristy Debono, a ninth district MP, also announced what sources said was an eleventh-hour decision not to contest, saying she had decided to balance her life towards her family.

“Throughout the past two legislatures, I had the privilege to serve under Dr Lawrence Gonzi, Dr Simon Busuttil, Dr Adrian Delia and Dr Bernard Grech who all entrusted me with the crucial sectors of the financial services and major economic sectors....

“I always gave the best of my ability to be of service... This however meant long hours away from my family and friends and at times they were relegated in my priorities, behind my intense political list of obligations.”

Debono said that being a frontline politician, professional, wife and mother to a six-year-old meant that her daughter “unknowingly and unwillingly has been directly baptised in this political life, her needs and schedules most of the times had to accommodate my schedule and not the other way round and I feel that I have failed her a number of times. It is also high time for me to start paying my dues with her at this critical stage in her life.”

PN leader Bernard Grech has since thanked all three MPs for work in the Nationalist Party, saying that they all decided not to contest the next election for several personal reasons.