PN leadership election: As Delia’s grassroots support grows, Said secures even more public endorsements

In support of Chris Said, the party 'needs someone at the helm who can navigate through the storms ahead', says MEP Roberta Metsola

Chris Said (left) and Adrian Delia
Chris Said (left) and Adrian Delia

Earlier this week, MEP Roberta Metsola became the umpteenth PN member to come out in support of Chris Said, citing, like many, his experience as a long-standing member of the party.

Metsola touted Said’s principles, claiming that the party “needs someone at the helm who can navigate through the storms ahead”. The MP can take the party to where it needs to be, she continued.  

The endorsement drew mixed reactions from the public. Many commentators claimed that Delia is the only way to win, leading Metsola to respond that she “made no electoral calculation… to stand up for what [she believes] in”. 

Nationalist MP Edwin Vassallo was the first to explicitly support Said, claiming that the contender reflects Christian values that “strengthen Maltese society.” Said went on to declare that he will protect these values after being asked by Vassallo to do so. 

Vassallo continues to endorse Said, calling him “a true Christian in politics” and stating that he will defend the ‘Religio et Patria’ PN emblem.

Fellow MEP David Casa announced Said as his ideal PN leader over a month ago. During a political activity in Zurrieq, the secretary general hopeful said Said has the ability to unite the party, pointing to Said’s experience as his greatest asset. 

European Commission director Martin Bugelli and MP David Stellini both sang their praises for Said. Stellini insisted that despite his support for Said, he would work with any of the two candidates elected. 

MEP candidate Jonathan Shaw endorsed Said as “a positive vision” and was once again met with a flurry of comments that insisted that Adrian Delia’s ‘new way’ is the right one. One commentator said “Wouldn’t it be better to tell us why common voters want [Said] rather than politicians? You treat us as if we have no brain”. 

Two of Said’s most vocal endorsements came from PN MP Jason Azzopardi and PN supporter Michael Briguglio, who continued to tout Said’ experience. 

“It’s no big secret.” Azzopardi said. “Me and Chris go way back and, personally, I believe he would make an excellent leader. Still, I believe that all of the contenders have a lot to offer.” The MP went on to become one of Delia’s greatest critics, calling him a “Trojan horse” and claiming that the lawyer’s win would benefit the Labour party. 

Other PN members such as Mario DeMarco, Beppe Fenech Adami, Frederick Azzopardi and Stephen Spiteri have all expressed support to Said, but said they would be keeping their vote secret. 

During an interview on Xstra Sajf, Said also claimed that members of eliminated PN leadership contender Perici Calascione’s team have reached out to Said to work with him. 

Despite Adrian Delia expressing wishes against public support from PN MPs, a number of Nationalist party members have come out in support of the newcomer.

MPs Kristy Debono and Jean Pierre Debono’s support has been shrouded with accusations that the couple struck a deal with the contender that would see Jean Pierre Debono giving up his seat in Parliament in order to allow Kristy Debono to become deputy leader. Delia, according to rumours, would support this move.

The latest public supporter of Delia, Alexander Borg Olivier- son of George Borg Olivier, took to social media to say that Adrian Delia “may not be the ideal choice, but he is the only candidate… to bring back the PN to being a winning party”.  The two electoral defeats are “the greatest and most painful insult” to his father’s memory, he continued. 

Asserting that Delia “is the person that can win the election for the PN,” MP Hermann Schiavone announced his support for Delia early on in the election. He reaffirmed his decision later, stating that he “will do whatever he can to make sure paid-up members understand that the PN needs Adrian Delia as leader” after the primary election. 

MPs Clyde Puli and Mario Galea also joined the list of Delia backers earlier in August. 

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