Opposition leader Adrian Delia plans drastic shake-up of shadow portfolios

Opposition leader Adrian Delia says rebel MPs who weakened party leader and party will have to take responsibility for their action 

Adrian Delia on TVM's Realtà
Adrian Delia on TVM's Realtà

Opposition leader Adrian Delia will change the portfolios shadowed by the PN MPs who moved a vote of no-confidence against him and requested that the President of the Republic remove him from leader of the Opposition.

“I will ascertain that everyone will shoulder their responsibility... that who breached the PN’s statute pays for their actions. I can’t be clearer than that,” Delia said, without going into details of whether he wants to censure MPs. 

Delia was retained in his constitutional role because the Constitution technically allows only the appointment of the leader of the largest party in opposition, even though a majority of 16 MPs have lost their trust in Delia. 

“The President cannot make a political judgement. He has to ensure stability in the country... he was clear in his interpretation,” Delia said, acknowledging however that there was a majority of MPs who clearly had no trust in him. 

“Now everyone has to shoulder their responsibility for what they say: clearly there is no respect to the Presidency, the Constitution, the PN statute or the paid-up members... they only respect themselves,” Delia said on TVM’s Realtà on Monday evening.  

“I am not an impulsive person... but I have finally taken my decision. I do not trust those people who have repudiated me once, twice, three times. In the coming days I will drastically change the shadow portfolios. 

“When someone’s actions evidently try to weaken your party leader, your party... At a time when I am fighting on the Vitals concession, they should have been my side.” 

Delia said the PN was nobody’s party. “It’s the people’s party, not the voices on Facebook or the media that is being fed by MPs. The PN are the people in the piazzas, in the shops and in their homes. Have we hurt hunters and trappers? Let’s speak to them. Have we hurt the LGBTQI community? Small business? We must reach out to these people. And I determined more than ever to do this.” 

Delia defended himself from allegations of impropriety by his critics, saying he is “not the monster they think I am.” 

“I did not launder money, or traffic drugs, or entered in business with Labour members, or born a labourite, or in some agreement with Joseph Muscat... they said all sorts against me,” Delia said, referring to an unofficial campaign against him on social media. 

The rebels insist that George Vella’s decision goes against the spirit of the Constitution, whose article 90(4) states the President must appoint the MP which enjoys the trust of the largest, single group in the opposition when the Opposition leader has lost their trust. But instead of appointing Therese Comodini Cachia, Vella said he had no choice but to refer back to Article 90(2) which states the Opposition leader must be the party leader – a suggestion that only had the MPs leave the PN parliamentary group would they be recognised as a single unit of MPs. 

In a statement issued shortly after Delia’s livestreamed address, the MPs said they wanted the PN to be led by “a person of integrity, somebody serious, honest and credible and who puts the national interest and the PN’s before his personal interest.” 

The statement is their most vehement repudiation yet of party leader Adrian Delia, who despite losing trust from the majority of MPs remains Opposition leader only by dint of Article 90(2) of the Constitution, which only recognises the leader of the largest party in opposition in Parliament as such. 

Nationalist MP Therese Comodini Cachia, now the official pretender to the role of Opposition leader, said she will continue serving the PN “in light of the hope we have brought to those who have joined us with this courageous step we took.” 

The MPs said they will work towards “bringing about the necessary change in the PN and our country.” 

They said taht Adrian Delia had been officially confirmed as having lost their trust by the validation carried out by the President, and that Therese Comodini Cachia was his rightful replacement as Opposition leader. 

“The President has confirmed Delia does not enjoy the trust of the absolute majority of PN MPs. He had the duty to remove him as Opposition leader and appoint that person who enjoys such trust. This is what the Constitution says and what the President neglected from doing. His decision goes against the Constitution as explained by authoritative experts whose names have been made public,” the MPs said.