[WATCH] President cannot remove Delia unless ‘concrete proof’ shows he has lost majority backing

President George Vella says concrete proof that Adrian Delia has lost the support of a majority of Opposition MPs does not yet exist and so he cannot act to remove him

President George Vella can only act in terms of the Constitution if there is 'concrete proof' Adrian Delia has lost majority backing in his parliamentary group
President George Vella can only act in terms of the Constitution if there is 'concrete proof' Adrian Delia has lost majority backing in his parliamentary group
President cannot remove Delia unless ‘concrete proof’ shows he has lost majority backing

No “concrete proof” that Adrian Delia has lost the support of the majority of Opposition MPs has been provided as of yet, the President George Vella said.

The President said that he is obliged by the Constitution to take action once there is proof the Opposition leader no longer enjoys the support of his parliamentary group.

Vella was fielding questions from journalists after he participated in a conference on medical imaging on Friday afternoon.

He said that no such evidence had reached him that warranted action on his part.

His statement came a day after a group of 17 MPs asked Delia to reconsider his position as party leader following the publication of a MaltaToday survey which showed his trust rating hitting its lowest level in two years.

Asked whether PN MPs had in the past day communicated to him in an official manner regarding the leadership crisis in their party, Vella was non-specific in his response.

“The work of the President is often not done publicly, and it is not right that one reveals all that is going on. It is important that one is attentive in order to follow on the Constitution's obligations, and to act when things get to the point that action is needed,” he said.

To date, however, there was “no concrete proof” to show Delia has lost support, he emphasised. 

“You need concrete proof that a majority of Opposition MPs no longer have faith in the Opposition leader… Had concrete proof of this been made known to me, action would have been taken. Till now, concrete proof isn't available, it doesn't exit,” he said.

Questioned about reports yesterday that a meeting he had called with a number of Nationalist MPs was cancelled at the last minute, Vella brushed the issue aside, insisting these were things that happened as a result of changing schedules.

"These are things which happen every day according to the timetable and meetings which we have. It is not something extraordinary," he said.

Vella said his hands were tied by the Constitution and his role was not to precipitate developments but react to them.

“I am tied by Article 90 of the Constitution [...] as soon as I have concrete proof that there isn't the support of the majority, this would mean they no longer have faith in [the Opposition leader]. In that case, his position won't be tenable. But I am not there to push such a situation, I am there to react to developments,” he insisted.

There were singular voices on Thursday who suggested that the President had a duty to act on developments, given the statement released by the rebel MPs.

However, the statement, which was not even signed, did not constitute a formal vote of no confidence.

Delia told MaltaToday on Friday morning that he had nothing to show that he had lost the majority backing of MPs.

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