PN leadership debate begins in earnest on Facebook

Public perceives De Marco, Busuttil, Said, and Fenech Adami as obvious candidates.

Mario de Marco
Mario de Marco

The rustling of ballot sheets had not yet died down on Monday, yet the social media networks were already murmuring about the possible candidates for the Nationalist Party leadership following Lawrence Gonzi's announcement on Sunday that he does not intend to seek reconfirmation as leader.

A number of high-profile names started doing the rounds on Facebook as Nationalist Party faithful start looking towards who they feel might be the best option to lead the party along the path of renewal: the oft-mentioned names were, unsurprisingly, former ministers Mario de Marco and Chris Said, and deputy leader Simon Busuttil.

Despite hailing from vastly different backgrounds, all three are relatively young and energetic politicians, and have been performing well in their respective areas over the past five years, despite the PN's dismal electoral showing.

At the same time, other names are also cropping up, among them those of Nationalist MP Beppe Fenech Adami, son of iconic former PN leader Eddie Fenech Adami, and lawyer Ann Fenech, who was part of the PN electoral commission for the election of deputy leader.

By Monday afternoon, a Facebook page titled 'Nazzjonalisti Biss' had already posed the fateful question: 'Who would you like to see as the new Nationalist Party leader?'

Leading the 'chart' after four hours of 'voting' at 9am today was Mario de Marco with over 1,200 votes, followed by Beppe Fenech Adami (585), Simon Busuttil (341), 'other candidates' (200), and Chris Said (105).

De Marco received more attention when an "unofficial" fan page supporting him for PN leader was also uploaded around the same time on Monday (link: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mario-De-Marco-For-PN-Leadership/554694734571200).

Like the previous poll, the fan page makes a strong argument for de Marco's popularity among younger voters who are more represented on social networking sites such as Facebook. The page racked up over 1,254 'Likes'.

Both de Marco and Said became ministers only relatively recently following cabinet reshuffles during which Gonzi redistributed certain portfolios and responsibilities. In the same reshuffle, which took place in January 2012 - little over a year ago - de Marco and Said went from parliamentary secretaries to fully-fledged ministers.

Busuttil on the other hand has had two successful terms as a Maltese MEP under his belt, and enjoyed an unparalleled push during the election campaign when the PN pinned a large part of its campaign thrust on him and his European credentials.

All three also performed well in the general election. While Busuttil delivered a very strong performance by being elected comfortably across no less than two districts (6th and 8th) on the first count, de Marco and Said managed to retain their seats.

De Marco was elected comfortably on the first district on the first count, while Chris Said also retained his seat on the Gozo (13th) district by a generous margin.

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I would describe myself as being a floater with Nationalist tendencies. I will therefore be very interested to see who actually stands for the leadership. I do not think Dr Busutill should even consider standing for the post of Deputy Leader, although he is an asset for us back in Brussels as an MEP. Re. Beppe FA - I've heard him speak (before the elections!) and honestly he needs to realise that we are no longer living in the bad old days of the '70s and '80s which I too lived through. I'm sorry he had to experience such a traumatic event as having his house attacked when a child....but that is the past! Mario de Marco appears to be the best person for the job although I do not know much about him and might be wrong.....I know he is an excellent speaker like his Dad because he once addressed a conference I was attending and I was very impressed by him. He has charisma. Re. Chris Said...He seems humble and would make a good deputy. People (ex-Nats who voted Labour this time) are also mentioning Claudio Grech as being a moderate person who could be considered as a contender for one of the two posts up for grabs. In my opinion though, the new leader does need to be someone with some connection (and experience!) to the PN as we once knew it. The name Demarco like Mifsud Bonnici, Fenech Adami etc...is synonymous with the PN. Guido was respected by most....I think Mario de Marco would appeal much more than Beppe to the lost sheep..............And Simon, please, please, please just forget it.....
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Busuttil proved nothing but complete failure. i m sorry not exactly political material are you ? all you do is lokok down on people now fly away and leave the aprty alone. only De Marco makes sense to me a true gentleman and perfrect canditate. forsi tqumu fuq saqqajkom. please get rid of you worst people. marthese portelli resign asap
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I voted Labour, but I still would like to have a constructive and alterative party in opposition! Simon Busutill should crry the same load as Dr. Gonzi and Dr.Borg Olivier! Maybe if the PN won, he would state that he made the difference. Sorry Simon, but you should go too! Beppe is not worthed too, since the EFA magic has vanished. To me there seem to be only two good contenders from the present MPs. My first preferance goes to Dr.Chris Said, and followed by Dr.Mario Demarco. All other names is just waste of time, or a gurantee that Labour will be in government for a very long time! Arrogance should vanish from the PN if they want to construct a new party! BTW, the PN should thank Austin Gatt for this result which completly wiped out their hopes!!
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Simon Busuttil today told the press the election campaign did nothing to alter the final outcome. In trying to shift the blame on others Simon Busuttil shot himself in the foot because with his declaration he also admitted that his presence as a deputy leader made no difference for his party to gain any credibility or to attract back any voters. Is Simon Busuttil thinking he was chosen for the role just to look pretty on the billboards? There's nothing he needs to think about. He has fail miserably with the task he was given and the honorably thing to do is to resign and make way for a more competent person.
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DR. CHRIS SAID ...The only one that showed he is a true politician and worth considering for success!!!
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DeMarco would be the best bet but being a lawyer he is not hip and a bit difficult to appeal to the young generation but would still be agood choice. Simon and Beppe are no beginers. Simon has shown that he's not up to it, makes a lot of guffs and was unprepared and dusting off all responsability that he had entered for as a deputy to Lawrence Gonzi.Beppe is a chip of the old block something nationalists should stay away from as EFA himself has shown the Fenech Adami magic has worn off. PN should be given a better choice and some names come to mind even if some are not elected MPs, but I will let nationalists themselves to figure that one out.
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If they include Simon Busuttil it will be one of the same old Klikka, from what we have seen from him up till now
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Beppe Fenech Adami is a carry-over from his ancient father's time, lies and all; Simon Busuttil has proved to be a hopeless case, and this election's disillusion; Chris Said is all chatter chatter but no action. If Mario Demarco continues to uphold his late father's moderate stance, he seems to be the only one of the four to fit the bill, given Joseph's offer of the hand of cooperation.