PN leadership election: Adrian Delia and Chris Said to face off in final round

Lawyer Adrian Delia secured 46% of the total votes cast in the preliminary round • Despite a vote difference of 191, Chris Said believes he can still convince the party's paid-up members to elect him as leader

Chris Said and Adrian Delia
Chris Said and Adrian Delia

The sorting of votes had been barely concluded when supporters waiting at the Dar Centrali’s reception launched into euphoric chants of “Delia! Delia!” and “Delia for leader”.

The ecstatic supporters launched into a celebration as now they’re convinced that lawyer Adrian Delia is set to become the Nationalist Party’s new leader, succeeding Simon Busuttil.

The final round is for Saturday 16 September, when some 22,000 PN members will be asked to choose between Delia and Chris Said.

Seen behind the scenes cheering on Delia at the party’s headquarters were members of parliament Clyde Puli and Hermann Schiavone whilst MP Jean Pierre Debono shouted out directions.

On the other camp, MP Jason Azzopardi could be seen with Said, who obtained 425 votes. Said has decided to proceed to the second round, in the hope that he can convince over half of some 22,000 paid-up members to vote for him. The official results as announced by head of the electoral commission, Joe Borg, showed Delia obtaining a total of 616 votes, despite many believing that Delia’s biggest fight would be convincing the councilors to vote for him.

Alex Perici Calascione garnered some 296 votes whilst only 11 councillors voted for Frank Portelli.

In a scene reminiscent of the Naxxar counting complex during general elections, Delia addressed the crowd of supporters as they kept pushing to hear their “new leader’s” words.

Adrian Delia, flanked by his wife Nikkie Vella de Fremaux (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Adrian Delia, flanked by his wife Nikkie Vella de Fremaux (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

Delia warned his campaigners that the race was not yet over and that more work was needed for the final round. Flanked by his wife, Nikkie Vella de Fremaux, Delia also told supporters that “no one was bigger than the party” who launched into more shouts of “Nazzjonalisti! Nazzjonalisti!”

“The result is overwhelming for me,” he later told journalists.

Addressing the jubilant supporters, Delia said that “democracy has won” and that the result was “a victory for the people”.

“We have to start working to reunite the party as of now,” Delia said, adding that he wanted his message to be one of unity.

But he later called on Nationalist supporters to take to the social media and make “a solemn declaration that no one is bigger than the party”.

If Delia is elected leader, a member of parliament will have to give up his seat.

Linda Attard Said and Chris Said (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Linda Attard Said and Chris Said (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

In comments to the press later on, flanked by his wife Linda, Said conceded that he was the preferred one to win the first round whilst Delia was touted to be more popular with the paid-up members.

“It is precisely for this reason that I will not withdraw from the race. This is a closed box and over 20,000 paid-up members are out there. I want my message to reach them,” he said, adding that ultimately he would bow his head to what the final result would be.

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