Adrian Delia gives thanks to Debono, MP who will resign for leader’s co-option

PN leader Adrian Delia pays tribute to his backer Jean Pierre Debono, a newly-elected MP who will resign his seat to facilitate Delia’s co-option

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia argues Debono was selfless in his decision to give up his seat in Parliament
Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia argues Debono was selfless in his decision to give up his seat in Parliament

The PN leader Adrian Delia paid tribute to backer and MP Jean Pierre Debono for declaring he would resign his seat on Monday, triggering a casual election that should pave the way for Delia to take up a seat in the House.

“I have the utmost respect for Jean Pierre Debono’s decision,” Delia said. “His canvassers understand that the seat is not their own, but is symbolic of the people’s will to have a Nationalist MP in that seat. Debono recognises what he is doing for his party and for his country,” Delia said.

“I’m a party boy – my first love is the party,” Jean Pierre Debono said during the interview. “Our duty is to follow one leader to work to better the country.”

The MP appealed to candidates in the seventh district to hand over their seat to Delia as soon as the casual election is announced. Debono also called for unity within the party, as the Opposition moves forward under Delia’s leadership.

On Radio 101, Delia refuted suggestions that he was treating an upcoming meeting with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat as a ‘challenge’, saying his goal was to discuss with Muscat a proposal to give MPs a free vote on legislation dealing with morals.

“Morals transcend a party,” Delia said. “They go beyond political discourse.”

Delia said elections for the party’s two deputy leaders will take place at the end of the year, arguing that the Opposition needs to be ready to go by the start of 2018.

He also played down criticism of his observation in a recent interview that the Maltese were “not complicated”. “I was misunderstood. I only meant that the Maltese are content with simple pleasures like going to the town square in the evening for a chat.”

Referring to recent statistics on poverty, Delia insisted that the figure of people living at risk of poverty, now up to 69,920, was higher when taking into consideration Caritas statistics, claiming over 100,000 were at risk of poverty. “Where are the hundreds of millions coming in from the sale of passports?” Delia asked. “Where’s all this surplus that every one is talking about?”

He called for a safety net for those at risk of poverty, calling for proposals that will continue to help people climb up the social ladder.

But Delia had no comments about reports that the PN’s electoral commission resigned following his election, especially in light of accusations that Debono could have handled proxy documents for votes that carried falsified signatures.