Metsola, Comodini Cachia withdraw from PN leadership race, make way for Bernard Grech

Nationalist Party MEP Roberta Metsola and MP Therese Comodini Cachia have declared they will not contest the leadership race • Withdrawals make way for Bernard Grech

Roberta Metsola has paved the way for Bernard Grech to be the unity candidate that will take on Adrian Delia (Facebook)
Roberta Metsola has paved the way for Bernard Grech to be the unity candidate that will take on Adrian Delia (Facebook)

Therese Comodini Cachia has joined Roberta Metsola in publicly declaring that she will not be contesting the Nationalist Party leadership race.

In a Facebook post on Thursday evening, Comodini Cachia said that she recognised the need to unite behind one candidate who could unite the party.

She said that her decision to front the parliamentary group rebellion against leader Adrian Delia meant that it would take a lot of time for people hurt by her actions to come around. For this reason she was not submitting her nomination.

According to sources who spoke to sister publication Business Today said that until yesterday afternoon Comodini Cachia had indicated to close friends her intention to contest the leadership. However, it appears she was convinced otherwise by rebel MPs.

Comodini Cachia's decision clears the way for lawyer Bernard Grech to be the sole candidate around who a majority of MPs are now rallying.

Earlier, in a lengthy Facebook post, Metsola said throwing her name in the hat would mean a drawn out leadership contest that was damaging to the party at this juncture.

"These have been days of soul searching, tough discussions and difficult negotiations. There is consensus that there needs to be one candidate going forward - our Party will simply not survive another drawn out destructive leadership contest. It is clear to me that with the way things have progressed my candidature will force a long-drawn out process that will damage not heal. Leadership is also about doing the right thing even when it is hard and I’ve taken the hard decision to not be a candidate at this time," Metsola said.

Intensive talks have been happening over the past few days between rebel MPs, party functionaries and potential candidates.

Sources close to the talks have told MaltaToday that Grech's name has constantly cropped up in conversations between MPs and their Nationalist constituents, suggesting groundswell support for the lawyer.

He is likely to be the only candidate to contest against incumbent Adrian Delia.

However, it remains unclear whether Mark Anthony Sammut will also be pulling out of the race.