Pressure mounts on David Agius to drop deputy leadership bid

Nationalist Party Whip has not ruled out pulling out of deputy leadership race as deadline for submissions looms

PN Whip David Agius has not yet made up his mind on deputy leadership bid
PN Whip David Agius has not yet made up his mind on deputy leadership bid

David Agius has not ruled out pulling out of the Nationalist Party’s deputy leadership race, telling MaltaToday he has until 6pm tomorrow to make up his mind.

The PN Whip intends contesting the post of deputy leader parliamentary affairs, a post for which Mosta MP Edwin Vassallo has already submitted his nomination.

When asked about rumours circulating in PN circles that he will not submit his bid, the MP insisted his nomination form contained more than 350 signatories.

“However, I will do what is best for the party and I have a chance until 6pm tomorrow [to decide]… I will be 100% tomorrow,” Agius said.

It is understood that Agius is facing pressure from people close to PN leader Adrian Delia not to contest so as to clear the way for failed leadership contender Chris Said.

In an attempt to heal the party rift, the Delia camp would like Said to be a deputy leader. The Gozitan MP is understood to have agreed with the proposal as long as he is uncontested for the post as happened in the past legislature with Mario de Marco’s election to deputy leader.

Vassallo has already declared that he will withdraw his nomination if nobody else contests the deputy leadership post to clear the way for Said.

Agius remains the obstacle in the plan as he has so far refused to give up his bid.

When contacted Vassallo confirmed his intention to withdraw if it meant Said would become deputy leader.

He added that in a brief conversation with Delia, the PN leader told him that he did not want to interfere in the democratic process.

“Adrian Delia told me that just as he was chosen by the members, they should also be free to elect the deputy leaders,” Vassallo said.

Robert Arrigo is so far the only contender for the second post of deputy leader party affairs. PN sources told MaltaToday that Clyde Puli, who had been interested in the post, is unlikely to contest Arrigo.

Puli could not be reached for comment.