PN rebels seeking unity candidate to take on Adrian Delia in leadership contest

Talks are underway to convince leadership contenders to step aside as rebel MPs try to unite behind one candidate who can take on Adrian Delia

Roberta Metsola and Bernard Grech are the two leading candidates behind who rebel MPs are willing to rally in a bid to present party members with a clear choice in a leadership contest against Adrian Delia (File Photo: Roberta Metsola Facebook)
Roberta Metsola and Bernard Grech are the two leading candidates behind who rebel MPs are willing to rally in a bid to present party members with a clear choice in a leadership contest against Adrian Delia (File Photo: Roberta Metsola Facebook)

Rebel MPs who paved the way for a leadership election in the Nationalist Party are trying to unite behind one candidate to challenge incumbent Adrian Delia.

A meeting was held on Monday to discuss the option of backing just one candidate so as to give party members a clear choice.

Sources close to the meeting said that MPs are looking, among other things at survey data, to determine the best possible contender to unseat Delia.

A two-horse race would ensure that the contest will be decided directly by members. But if more than two candidates submit their nomination, it will be the general council that will first vote to whittle down the field to two.

After Saturday’s vote in the general council, it appears that Delia still enjoys the support of 44% of councillors, which will secure him a place in the final race.

Rebel MPs believe that a diverse field of candidates will play into Delia’s hands and are trying to convince potential candidates who have indicated an interest in contesting the leadership to stand aside.

The front runners appear to be MEP Roberta Metsola and lawyer Bernard Grech, although Therese Comodini Cachia, an MP chosen by her colleagues to stand in as Opposition leader, is understood to be interested in contesting.

Grech is understood to have received positive feedback among party members who had supported Delia but are disillusioned by the results achieved so far. This cohort of members do not necessarily support those who ousted Delia.

Former PN executive president Mark Anthony Sammut and current executive president Alex Perici Calascione are also considering a leadership bid.

The PN electoral commission is expected to issue an expression of interest tomorrow for prospective candidates, which will close in seven days.

Candidates who indicate their interest will be subjected to a due diligence exercise and only if they pass the test will they be able to formally contest when nominations open.

READ ALSO: Franco Debono on PN leadership candidature: ‘I am listening attentively to the people’

More in National