Simon Busuttil to be confirmed PN leader today

Former MEP will be Opposition leader after securing 50.3% of first round vote: PN councillors formalise his role in second round of voting today

Simon Busuttil with Mario de Marco at last week's election
Simon Busuttil with Mario de Marco at last week's election

Nationalist Party councillors today are voting in a second round to formalise the post of party leader for Simon Busuttil, who last week won a first round of voting with 50.3% of 897 votes.

Deputy leader Simon Busuttil faced off former minister Mario de Marco, who clinched 38.5% (345 votes) of councillors, former minister Francis Zammit Dimech and outsider candidate Ray Bugeja (6% and 5.2% respectively). All candidates conceded defeat on the night of the first round.

Party rules however still demand that councillors vote for the new leader and approve him with two-thirds of the General Council's vote.

Former MEP Simon Busuttil, 44, will be the seventh PN leader in the party's history and he is expected to address the party councillors tonight after counting finishes at 10pm.

Busuttil led the Malta-EU Information Centre in the run-up to EU accession in 2003 before contesting the 2004 elections, becoming the most voted MEP in Maltese political history. He took a central role in the PN's electoral campaigns for both national and European elections and reaffirmed his top vote in the European elections of 2009. He was elected deputy leader of the PN in December 2012 where he was contested by then finance minister Tonio Fenech, and elected to parliament in March 2013.

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Now he is going to turn from Simple Simon to Puppet on a String. I guess everyone knows who is going to pull the strings.
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Incredible that Dr Busuttil has the audacity to think that asking De Marco to be his deputy is going to appease floating voters, ex-PNs and genuine Nationalists. Genuine Nationalists are asking themselves how a man who only obtained 50.3% of die- hard, handpicked staunch Nationalist voters, can ever imagine that he can possibly win the popular vote of the majority of Maltese. What presumption - Yes, Dr Gonzi, Zammit Dimech, Demarco and Borg Olivier are gentlemen. You, Dr Busuttil, don't really have the good of the PN at heart - which is why, I and thousands of others, will not vote PN until a really suitable leader comes along. What is incredible is that the councillors are allowing themselves to be used.....I would invalidate my vote because if Dr Busuttil does not get two-thirds, he cannot be appointed leader! Simon becoming leader is an insult to the majority of PN supporters. If you, or one of your cronies happens to be reading this, tonight when we all know you will be confirmed leader (surprise, surprise!) be man enough to say that unless PN improve their vote considerably in the MEP elections, you will step down. If you do not do this, you will continue to make a laughing stock out of the once, but no more, "glorious" PN. And Dr De Marco, please do not accept Dr Busuttil's offer, he is just using you.....During the campaign they tried to tarnish your reputation saying you were responsible for MEPA etc....You know what? At least Labour supporters/candidates are loyal - PN tactics, nowadays, seem to be to stab you in the back....Enjoy 20 years in opposition!!!!!
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maybe he is the best among the worst,i personallly prefered gonzi to stay on as leader.
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If one analyses well the photograph in this article, Mario DeMarco's face expression shows it all. He might have lipped that he wanted to concede for unity but his face suggests otherwise. Perhaps his thoughts at the moment were "I cannot do anything against the biased PN clique ... bye bye the PN as we used to know it in the glorious days."
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Emmanuel Mallia
The same, old rhetoric continuation you would expect from a cunning lawyer !
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The past electoral campaign amply showed that the man is simply not fit for purpose. He is just not the right man for the job. Time will tell. PN doomed for another 5 years at least with him at the helm.
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I bet everything I have that Simon is going to win this one horse race.