PN backs former leader as daggers come out: ‘no equivalence between Delia and Muscat’

Nationalist Party comes out in strong defence of former leader Adrian Delia after criticism from party faithful for being mentioned in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder inquiry report

Former Opposition leader Adrian Delia
Former Opposition leader Adrian Delia

Former Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia may have had something of a chequered past with his own party. But the PN has stood foursquare behind Delia in the face of the backlash he has received over the last two days in the wake of the board of inquiry report into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, where he is mentioned in four instances.

The PN has called for the heads of anyone from the Labour Party who had anything to do with the corruption treated by the report, and PN-leaning blogger Manuel Delia, in particular, as well as other commentators, took the former party leader to serious task over his name having been dropped.

Asked to weigh in with its opinion on its former leader and current MP having been implicated in the report, a party spokesperson explained to MaltaToday that, “The Nationalist Party encourages and defends the right of journalists to express themselves freely, without fear or favour.

“It also feels a sense of duty to explain its position with regard to members of its parliamentary group when these are on the receiving end of criticism that merits further explanation.”

The PN, in fact, makes it quite clear that it has a “difference of opinion when it comes to Manuel Delia’s analysis of PN MP Adrian Delia in the context of the public inquiry”.

Activist and blogger Manuel Delia
Activist and blogger Manuel Delia

The Board of Inquiry does mention Adrian Delia’s name on four occasions, the PN acknowledges, but, it adds, “In none of these instances does the inquiry imply Delia is involved in organised crime or other illicit practices. The Inquiry simply states the well-known fact that when Delia contested for leadership, Daphne Caruana Galizia attacked him ‘qatta bla habel’.

Delia comes in for mention once again when the report notes how Caruana Galizia had been politically isolated in the time leading up to her murder and that Delia had filed five libel suits against Caruana Galizia.

On the libel suits, the PN clarified that, “What the inquiry argues is that since our institutions were not working, when allegations were made against the leader of the Opposition, this could have fuelled the sense of impunity that was festering in the country.”


PN ‘refutes any equivalence’ between Delia and Muscat

Manuel Delia, in his posts on the subject, featured a photograph of Delia and Muscat shaking hands and presumably looking thick as thieves but, for the PN, the comparison is odious: “By contrast, the board of inquiry is damning against Joseph Muscat, his Cabinet and his parliamentary group because they deliberately enabled a culture of impunity by giving their express support to people like Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi when their wrongdoing was blatantly proven.”

The PN notes how the report finds that those ‘in the heart of Castille’ created a “culture of impunity that like an octopus enveloped the regulatory authorities and the police, resulting in the total collapse of the rule of law”.

The party also charges that, by failing to have taken any action, the whole of Cabinet and the parliamentary group “prioritised the wealth of a few instead of protecting the person who was revealing their corrupt practices, and this eventually allowed Daphne Caruana Galizia to be killed”.

As such, the PN took stark exception to any comparison between Delia and Muscat, insisting it “refutes any equivalence of the criticism or allegations levelled at Adrian Delia, with the now proven culpability of Joseph Muscat and his Labour Party in a political assassination”.

The PN, in fact, points out how the inquiry singles out projects undertaken by Muscat’s government that that, if proven, would fall into the category of involving ‘people who work with criminals for illicit and illegal gains’.

The short version of the PN’s list includes the Panama Papers, 17 Black, Electrogas, the hospitals’ project and the Montenegro wind farms, among others.

Delia has taken ‘forceful action’ against corrupt projects

In contrast, the spokesperson points out, “It must be said that Adrian Delia, both as former leader of the Opposition and now as a sitting MP, has taken forceful action against many of the corrupt projects, not least against the Vitals/Steward deal of a 30-year concession over three state hospitals, where Delia lodged court proceedings to annul the corrupt deal.”

The party appealed to “all people of goodwill to unite with the Opposition to provide the country with an alternative government that can rebuild Malta’s credentials as a trusted democracy governed by the rule of law in which hardworking men and women can thrive and feel safe.”