Updated | Bernard Grech will take Ivan Bartolo's seat in parliament

PN leadership contestant Bernard Grech has no parliamentary seat but Ivan J. Bartolo has pledged to resign and make way for him if elected leader 

Bernard Grech will have to depend on a PN MP's resignation from parliament to take his seat in the House if elected leader
Bernard Grech will have to depend on a PN MP's resignation from parliament to take his seat in the House if elected leader

Bernard Grech has secured the commitment of Ivan J. Bartolo to have a clear pathway into parliament if elected Nationalist Party leader.

Part of the deal that saw rebel PN MPs throw their weight behind Grech involved a commitment by one of the MPs to resign from parliament, sources close to the talks said.

The MP’s name has been a closely guarded secret among rebel MPs. But Bartolo has now confirmed to Times of Malta that he will be giving up his seat if Grech is elected leader.

Ivan J. Bartolo
Ivan J. Bartolo

Bartolo, an entrepreneur, was elected to parliament last March in a casual election to fill Marthese Portelli's vacant seat. Last year, Bartolo had fronted a vote of no confidence in the PN general council against Delia. However, the PN leader won the vote.

Having been elected through a casual election, Bartolo's eventual resignation will mean that the PN will have to co-opt someone to fill the vacancy, giving Grech a clear path to parliament.

Grech is the only candidate to run against incumbent PN leader Adrian Delia after Roberta Metsola, Therese Comodini Cachia and Mark Anthony Sammut stepped aside.

Grech, a lawyer, does not have a parliamentary seat and did not contest the last general election.

Delia had to pass through the same procedure when elected leader three years’ ago when Seventh District MP Jean Pierre Debono gave up his seat.

In a Facebook post on Monday, Hermann Schiavone also said he would be willing to give up his seat if the party asked him to do so. He had said the same thing in 2017 when Delia was elected leader.

Hermann Schiavone has publicly offered his parliamentary seat to Bernard Grech but this won't be necessary since another MP has pledged to resign if Grech is elected leader
Hermann Schiavone has publicly offered his parliamentary seat to Bernard Grech but this won't be necessary since another MP has pledged to resign if Grech is elected leader

“My main interest remains that of strengthening the Nationalist Party so that the country has a strong Opposition and an alternative government,” Schiavone wrote.

The Fifth District MP had been a core supporter of Delia but switched allegiance and joined the majority in the PN parliamentary group that gave the leader a no confidence vote.

Grech and Delia still have to be approved by a party commission tasked with carrying out a due diligence exercise on candidates who would have shown an interest in contesting the leadership.

If approved, the pair will square-off in a contest that will be decided by paid-up members.

READ ALSO: MaltaToday Survey | PN members flock behind Bernard Grech, party outsider backed by Delia rivals

More in National