‘Blue heroes’: names of PN’s 17 rebels who want Delia out released

The names of the 17 members of the Nationalist Party’s parliamentary group who want Adrian Delia to step down have been released by Jason Azzopardi

The Facebook post by Jason Azzopardi indicating who the 17 PN rebels are
The Facebook post by Jason Azzopardi indicating who the 17 PN rebels are

Nationalist Party MP Jason Azzopardi has published the names of the 17 members of the PN parliamentary group who want Adrian Delia to step down.

Under the tagline, 17 Blue Heroes, Azzopardi published mugshots of the MPs, including himself, who last week called on Delia to consider stepping down from leader.

This is the first time that the names have been confirmed officially by the people involved in the rebellion.

This confirms that Delia has lost the support of 15 MPs in parliament (the two MEPs cannot be counted), which makes his position as Opposition leader untenable.

The PN parliamentary group has 28 MPs. Another two MPs sit as independents – Marlene Farrugia and Godfrey Farrugia, who are very likely to support any move to remove Delia from Opposition leader.

The development comes on the back of doubts sown by former PN secretary-general Clyde Puli last Sunday when in an interview on TVM’s Insights, said he believed there weren’t 17 MPs who wanted Delia out.

Prior to the names being released, the MPs had circulated an unsigned statement calling for Delia to step down.

The MPs are: Claudette Buttigieg, Kevin Cutajar, Karl Gouder, Therese Comodini Cachia, Mario de Marco, Toni Bezzina, Marthese Portelli, Karol Aquilina, Roberta Metsola, Claudio Grech, Ryan Callus, Beppe Fenech Adami, Simon Busuttil, Chris Said, Stephen Spiteri, Jason Azzopardi and David Casa.

Meanwhile, in comments to The Malta Independent, Claudio Grech has described as “absolute fiction”, rumours that he was willing to take over the party leadership.

Delia faces the prospect of being removed from Opposition leader, which is the power that MPs have. However, to do so they would have to pass a vote of no confidence in Delia, showing that a majority of them do not support him.

Any such move would prompt the President to act and appoint another Opposition leader, who enjoys the support of the majority of Opposition MPs.

Delia has resisted calls to step down, insisting that he was elected leader of the PN in a legitimate election and reconfirmed last summer.

He has accused the rebel MPs of wanting to dictate matters in the party and has challenged them to toe the line or be kicked out.