[WATCH] Opposition faction wants to impose on President's judgment - Abela

Prime Minister says faction within Opposition don't want to leave President to use his own Constitutional judgment in making decision about PN political crisis

Prime Minister Robert Abela was addressing party faithful during a political event in Mosta on Sunday
Prime Minister Robert Abela was addressing party faithful during a political event in Mosta on Sunday

Updated at 3:15pm with reaction from 19 rebel MPs to Robert Abela's comments on PN situation

Rebel MPs within the Opposition want to impose on the President when it comes to using his judgement on how to apply the Constitution, amid the political crisis in the PN, Robert Abela said.

The Prime Minister accused a faction within the Opposition of piling pressure on the President, for him to decide in line with their own wishes.

Abela's comments come as Nationalist MPs insist that the President had confirmed with them that a majority of MPs had declared to him they had no trust in Adrian Delia.

READ ALSO | Adrian Delia allies mull expulsion threat for rebel MPs

There has as yet been no official pronouncement from the President’s Office on whether Therese Comodini Cachia, the MP nominated by a majority of MPs to George Vella, would be sworn in as Opposition leader. 

"Instead of allowing the President to use his judgement to apply the Constitution, they want to impose on such judgement. This is the position which the Opposition of 17 or 19 MPs, we don't know how many, took," Abela, who was speaking during a Labour Party event in Mosta on Sunday, said

"This is an alley which you [the Opposition] entered, and you'll need to come out of it yourselves. You will have to solve the problem which you created," he said.

Abela said that, no matter who the PN's leader was - Delia or Comodini Cachia - Labour would keep winning. "And I say this because the people are with us."

Malta limited influx of migrants through cooperation with Libya

On the subject of migration, the Prime Minister said that, through cooperation with the Libyan government, Malta had been managing to limit the influx of migrants into the country.

"In the past weeks we've had many migrants leaving Libya, but we managed to control the number which came to Malta. Every day we have hundreds of migrants trying to come to Malta or to Lampedusa," he said.

"Through the work we are doing with the Libyan government, we have limited the influx of migrants. And the work we did with Libya transformed into help from our European friends, who assisted us with relocation. We will keep insisting it is not enough, but it is a step forward."

Government working to get 'biggest EU budget'

Turning to negotiations for the EU's 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, Abela said that Malta faced a challenge, because the wealth it had managed to create would work against it in terms of the amount of funds it could get from the EU.

"According to the system, the more we moved forward, the less help we need from the EU," he said.

"But we won't be happy with getting a mediocre budget," he said, highlighting that the government would "work to get the biggest budget for Malta."

In Abela's interest that Delia remains in his place - rebel MPS

In a statement reacting to Abela's comments about the political situation in the PN, the group of 19 rebel Nationalist MPs said the Prime Minister's arguments showed that it was in his own interest that Adrian Delia remained his political adversary.

Abela's statements on Sunday, the rebel MPs said, were an official confirmation of this.

"For the Labour Party, it is crucial that Adrian Delia remain leader of the Opposition and of the PN. This was confirmed by Prime Minister Robert Abela himself when he used the Sunday activity to defend Adrian Delia and to try to influence the President in the making of his decision in accordance with the Constitution."

The 19 said that the PL had, through its representatives and media, been defending Delia for the past three years.

"This defence increased in the past days following the courageous and necessary step which was taken by the absolute majority of the PN parliamentary group."

The rebel MPs said their position was clear: the President should act according to the Constitution of the country and as had been pointed out by Constitutional law experts Giovanni Bonello, Kevin Aquilina and Austin Bencini. 

The President should remove Delia as Opposition leader and instead appoint the person who enjoys the trust of the majority of the PN pariamentary group - Therese Comodini Cachia, they said.

"With his comments, Robert Abela has now also ended up as Adrian Delia's defence lawyer," the rebel MPs added.