Adrian Delia’s leadership to be discussed by PN MPs

Adrian Delia’s leadership of the Nationalist Party is under discussion once again as MPs mull no confidence vote option

Opposition leader Adrian Delia
Opposition leader Adrian Delia

Adrian Delia’s leadership will be on the agenda of the Nationalist Party’s parliamentary group meeting as MPs remain unconvinced with his reaction to the Yorgen Fenech chats.

The embattled PN leader is likely to face calls for his resignation when the parliamentary group meets tomorrow at 7pm.

However, multiple sources within the parliamentary group have suggested that a vote of no confidence could be mooted to remove Delia from Opposition leader.

“Adrian Delia’s leadership will definitely be on the agenda, especially after the latest revelations but whether it will go as far as a vote of no confidence still has to be seen,” one MP who spoke on condition of anonymity told MaltaToday.

Another MP said there were others willing to step into the shoes of Opposition leader if Delia is forced out but going for a vote will depend on how the parliamentary group will sway.

“There appears to be a majority of MPs who want Delia out but it very much depends on whether the party leader decides to step down voluntarily or will have to be forced out,” the MP said.

Delia resisted an attempt earlier this year by MPs, who wanted him out and party sources suggested he is unlikely to buckle under the pressure.

The situation could very much leave the PN in a quandary with Delia staying on as party leader but someone else occupying the constitutional role of Opposition leader.

“This is a prospect many want to avoid, which is why a vote of confidence is not yet a certainty,” another MP said.

MPs who yesterday attended an unofficial parliamentary group meeting at PN headquarters were left unconvinced by Delia’s defence in reaction to WhatsApp exchanges with Yorgen Fenech published by The Sunday Times of Malta.

Delia claimed the chats were part of a frame up against him. However, sources close to the meeting said he waffled around when asked point blank questions as to the veracity of the messages.

Delia turned up at the meeting at around 8:45pm, almost three hours after a score of MPs convened at party headquarters to discuss the revelations.

The MPs met despite having their request for an emergency parliamentary group meeting turned down by the party leadership.

The sources said MPs had a relatively serene gathering before Delia turned up three hours later to make his defence.

“The party leader kept talking about how the chats were part of a frame up. It was as if he was trying to buy time, waffling in lawyerly speak when asked point blank questions,” the sources said.

Delia is facing flak from his MPs over exchanges he had with Fenech last year when it was already known that the Tumas Group businessman was the owner of 17 Black.

The PN had been very critical of 17 Black’s inclusion as a target client for the Panama companies set up by former minister Konrad Mizzi and Joseph Muscat’s chief of staff, Keith Schembri. The company has been linked to alleged corruption in major public contracts.

In one of the exchanges, which were all initiated by Fenech, the Opposition leader entertained an invitation for dinner by replying that he will ask his aide, Pierre Portelli, to set it up.

Only last week, Delia twice told journalists that he had no communication of relevance with Fenech.

“The biggest problem Delia faces is that he lied just a few days ago when he denied having any communication of relevance with Yorgen Fenech after November 2018,” a PN source said.

But MPs are also worried about the PN’s lack of progress among the electorate and Delia’s continued unpopularity in regular polls.

“The numbers are bad and not improving… and now there are these chats, which the leader has not been convincing about,” one MP said.

However, another one was dismissive of the issue insisting this will not be the first and last time that Delia’s leadership is discussed by MPs.

Delia survived a vote confidence in the PN general council last year after a dismal showing in the European Parliament election.

He won the support of 67% of councillors to continue leading the party until the next general election.

L-ikbar arma tal-korrott u tal-kriminal il-ħabi u l-gideb. L-ikbar arma ta’ dak li qiegħed fis-sewwa l-verità; il-verità kollha.

Posted by Adrian Delia on Monday, 6 July 2020

Meanwhile, in a Facebook post on Monday afternoon, Delia said the strongest weapon of the righteous person was the truth.

"The strongest weapon of the corrupt and the criminal is deceit and lies," he added.

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