[WATCH] Delia greeted with support in Mellieħa as he heralds 'revolution' within PN

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia heralds 'revolution' in the party as supporters greet him at Mellieħa PN club, despite regional committee's request for him not to attend

Adrian Delia was greeted with support at the PN's Mellieħa club on Sunday
Adrian Delia was greeted with support at the PN's Mellieħa club on Sunday

Adrian Delia was greeted with support from party faithful on Sunday at the Mellieħa PN club he was urged to stay away from, with the embattled PN leader using his sermon to herald a "revolution" inside the Nationalist Party.

After a week of turmoil in which a majority of his MPs said they no longer supported him, an ever-defiant Delia's message was clear today: MPs could either work with him, or else leave the party.

Yesterday, members for the PN's regional committee were reported to have written to the party's leader to urge him not to attend the club

Later in the day, the Mellieħa sectional committee issued a statement saying it had never been decided not to allow Delia to go to the club for his speech. The regional and sectional committees are two separate entities.

But there was no evidence of hostility towards the Nationalist leader from the people gathered at the club to listen to his speech.

The event turned out to be a show of support, with those present - mostly middle-aged or older party followers - making it clear that they still backed him.

A group of people, discussing the events of the past week, were heard commenting on how those opposing Delia "should be ashamed of themselves". "They are destroying their own party," one woman said.

The hall at the venue was packed as Delia walked in, to loud cheers and applause. MPs Robert Arrigo, who resigned as deputy leader this week, Clyde Puli, who also stepped down as general secretary in the past days, Edwin Vassallo, Robert Cutajar, Maria Deguara and deputy leader for parliamentary affairs David Agius were in attendance.

Former St Paul's Bay mayor Graziella Galea and Vassallo addressed the event before Delia took the podium.

Delia started by thanking Agius for his loyalty, and telling Arrigo that he still had a lot to offer to the party.

"You did the right thing. You have nothing to be ashamed of. Those who hurt you should be ashamed," he said of Arrigo.

"I am still here," a determined Delia said, "And no tsunami, no storm, is going to make me give up, because I am certain that I am doing what I am doing not for myself, but for the party I love and for the country."

In an apparent dismissal of claims that he was in dire financial straits, he said that there were "some people" who alleged he could not leave his post as he would "die of hunger" without his PN leader's salary. "Before I became leader they said I was earning millions, and now they say I would die of hunger," he quipped.

Delia said that there were people who didn't want to see the party reformed or new people to join it. 

"I tell these people that it is not only reform and renewal which will take place. There will be a whole revolution within the party. And I will be making decisions - not in my interest, but in that of the party and our country."

"Those who have nothing to fear do not make comments behind the scene - they say what they have to say in public," he said.

Delia underscored that the PN's real fight was against corruption and for the strengthening of democracy. "But we first have to look at ourselves and our party and determine who is really working for the PN and who is solely striving for their personal interest," he emphasised.

He said that the party's doors would remain wide open, but warned that "no group of persons will be permitted to make the party theirs just because they feel they have a divine right."

"In this moment when everyone thinks the PN is finished, we have to look at ourselves. I have to be the first to do this, but you all have to do the same and see if you've given all you could to the party."

"The time for empty words is over - the real work start today - every one of you has to now either help or else leave. I have no problem working with anyone, but those who have a problem working with me have a problem with the PN."

Turning his guns to the government, Delia said that despite the Robert Abela administration attempting to portray that everything was all right in Malta, there was in fact a lot which was wrong.

Labour too, he said, were divided - even more than the PN - but such divisions were kept secret.

Meanwhile, Delia said, the elderly still couldn't make ends meet, there were still young people who saw no future in Malta, and the environment was still being ruined. Infrastructural problems persisted, with the government having only invested in "roads which lead to nowhere", while the traffic issue remained unsolved and the air continued to be polluted, he said.

The way forward, he underlined, was to be determined and to have a PN which remained a single party with everyone backing one leader who wanted the best for the country.

"I appeal to all to declare whether or not they want to be loyal to the PN," he said in his closing comments. 

"Do they want to be one of the 17 MPs? Yes or no? Do they want to be loyal to the party? Yes or No. Do they want to work for the party? Yes or no?" he said, in reference to the group of 17 PN parliamentary group members who were reported to be pushing for him to step down.

For those who were with him, the work would start now, for those who weren't, their time with the party had come to an end, he added.