[WATCH] PN leader Adrian Delia loses executive committee confidence vote

47 members vote against Delia, 35 in favour while one abstains 

Updated at 2:30 am with Adrian Delia comments 

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia has lost a vote of confidence inside the party’s executive committee, a forum that includes MPs as well as representatives of all party organs and General Council members.

47 members voted against Delia, while 35 voted in favour of him and there was one who abstained.

The motion was forwarded by former MP Michael Asciak. 

Sources said the motion was backed by the 17 parliamentary group members who declared to the president that they had lost trust in the PN leader. Only 13 MPs have a vote in the executive.

Speaking to the media after the vote, Delia expressed his frustration at the situation. “This is not business as usual. We have a situation in our country where corruption is eating up all structures of government, and instead we are discussing how the PN best organises itself,” he said. 

Delia insisted he will remain as party leader despite the vote. “Those who forwarded the motion knew that it wouldn’t result in anything,” he said. 

Asked how he expects to continue to work and carry out his ideas, after losing a confidence vote among the parliamentary group and executive committee, Delia called on the party to unite. “If you have a team which is divided you can never work. We have to ask not who the party leader is, but who is the party team, and if we have a united front in the party, I am certain the PN can challenge the labour government,” he insisted. 

Sources who spoked to MaltaToday said that former PM Lawrence Gonzi, Tonio Borg and party secretary general Francis Zammit Dimech suggested Delia go to a vote among party members.

Andre Grech was among those present who spoke most in favour that Delia remains party leader.  

Sources also said that those who voted against Delia believe the vote will lead to a snowball effect against Delia, but cannot understand how the PN leader cannot understand the implications of the vote. 

Former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi also forwarded a motion calling for leadership race during tonight’s executive council meeting.  Gonzi had called for a similar vote in 2012 when he was Prime Minister, after losing out in several parliamentary votes, including the budget vote. He had also lost confidence motions in the House of Representatives against ministers Austin Gatt and Carm Mifsud Bonnici. 

READ ALSO:Delia hopeful PN executive will see party interest first

Lawrence Gonzi had told the media earlier on Tuesday that he would be backing a leadership race. He said he would, however, oppose any proposal aimed at punishing MPs who had exercised their democratic right to oppose Delia.

The PN’s executive committee met to discuss the party’s way forward following president George Vella’s decision to retain Delia as party leader. Delia emerged triumphant as the Constitutionally recognised leader of the party in opposition, despite 16 MPs out of his 28 declaring to the President of the Republic they had lost trust in him.

In a Facebook post last week, Asciak had said that when a party leader loses the parliamentary group’s backing, he should no longer retain the position.