PN executive appoints Zammit Dimech interim secretary-general, Arrigo accuses MPs of ‘doing nothing’ for party

Stormy PN executive meeting: outgoing deputy leader Robert Arrigo tells Claudio Grech and Therese Comodini Cachia of ‘having done nothing’ for PN

Francis Zammit Dimech will be the PN interim secretary-general
Francis Zammit Dimech will be the PN interim secretary-general

The Nationalist Party’s executive committee has voted to make former minister Francis Zammit Dimech as interim secretary-general, to succeed Clyde Puli after his resignation.

At 12:30am, Opposition leader Adrian Delia emerged from the meeting saying the party had a “good discussion” on the next stops to appoint replacements for Robert Arrigo, the deputy leader for party affairs, and Kristy Debono, the outgoing president of the General Council.

But sources said Delia also insisted on retaining Puli as interim secretary-general as was suggested previously by party grandee Louis Galea in his party reform plan.

Zammit Dimech was approved for the post by 56 votes to six, and 11 abstentions.

Zammit Dimech, 65, is a PN stalwart first election to the House in 1987 who served as minster for 16 years in the Fenech Adami and Gonzi administrations. He was last in the House in 2017 and was elected MEP between 2017 and 2019.

During the meeting, outgoing deputy leader Robert Arrigo was said to have accused MPs Claudio Grech and Therese Comodini Cachia of doing nothing for the party.

Sources said the stormy meeting was characterised by pointed exchanges between various MPs.

Arrigo, who will be resigning his post next month, opened fire on Grech and Comodini Cachia, questioning what they did for the party.

Sources said Arrigo opposed Louis Galea’s proposal to hold expedient elections to fill the party’s top posts.

Galea proposed that the extension granted to the president of the executive (Alex Perici Calascione), the president of the administrative committee (Carm Mifsud Bonnici), the party treasurer (vacant), the secretary-general (formerly held by Clyde Puli), the international secretary (Roselyn Borg Knight) and the president of the general council (formerly held by Kristy Debono), end immediately for elections to be held on Saturday.

The role of General Council president is filled through an election among party councillors, while for the rest of the roles an election will have to  be held in the executive.

The same sources added that former PN secretary-general Clyde Puli, also opposed Galea’s proposal, insisting the meeting should discuss the ‘17 Blue Heroes’ – the tagline for rebel MPs, used in a poster that was uploaded to Facebook by Jason Azzopardi.

Earlier, Azzopardi was greeted by jeers as he walked into the headquarters for the meeting.

More in National