Updated | Busuttil, key PN MPs absent from vote dissolving PD coalition

Key PN executive members, including former leader Simon Busuttil and other senior MPs, were not present at Friday's meeting in which the party approved a motion to dissolve the Forza Nazzjonali coalition  it had formed with the Partit Demokratiku before the June elections

Marlene Farrugia and Simon Busuttil: their coalition enabled the breakaway Labour MPs Marlene and Godfrey Farrugia to be elected on a PN ticket as PD MPs
Marlene Farrugia and Simon Busuttil: their coalition enabled the breakaway Labour MPs Marlene and Godfrey Farrugia to be elected on a PN ticket as PD MPs

Former Nationalist Party leader Simon Busuttil was absent during Friday's meeting of the party's Executive Commitee which voted to dissolve the coalition that he had spearheaded with the Partit Demokratiku in the run-up to the 3 June election.

MaltaToday has learned that other key committee members, including senior members of parliament, also did not attend the meeting.

Committee members were only informed about Friday afternoon's meeting less than 24 hours before and some could not attend due to prior engagements.

They complained with MaltaToday that being given so little notice ahead of such an important meeting was unacceptable, some arguing that "such things never used to happen before".

The party announced the outcome of the meeting in a statement, saying the committee had voted unanimously to approve a motion to dissolve the Forza Nazzjonali coalition.

In the statement, the party said the coalition had been formed with the intention of the two parties presenting a joint list of candidates in last June's general election.

“Since in the June 2017 general election, Forza Nazzjonali did not win the necessary majority as intended, we declare that the alliance is dissolved and any form of cooperation with representatives from the Democratic Party will be on a case by case basis.

Last month, speaking on TimesTalk last month, newly-elected leader Anthony Buttigieg said the pre-electoral agreement no longer stood. 
“We are in opposition, so in effect, post-election, you could say the agreement no longer stands,” said Buttigieg, who was elected Party leader in October.

The coalition agreement had been former PN leader Simon Busuttil’s brainchild. Busuttil had negotiated the deal, including the inclusion of

PD candidates on the PN list, on his own, earning him internal criticism.

Marlene Farrugia was elected on District 10 on her own steam and Godfrey Farrugia made it on District 7 in a casual election for the seat vacated by Beppe Fenech Adami.

Many within the PN blamed Busuttil for the loss of two parliamentary seats to the junior coalition partner. After the election, the relationship between the PN and PD grew cold, especially in the wake of Adrian Delia’s election as leader.

Malta’s third party will continue being the banner of justice – PD

Reacting to the PN’s statement, the PD said it remained loyal to the “dream championed by those men and women of clean conscience who wanted to put the interests of our citizens and country before bipartisan politics”.

It said that as had been stated by both Marlene Farrugia and leader Anthony Buttigieg, “the coalition no longer stands” and that the PD would continue to “grow on the ticket of good governance, the need for which is felt now more than ever”.

“Partit Demokratiku, recognised as a distinct Democratic Opposition in Parliament by the Speaker, will work on a case by case basis in Parliament wherever it is in the genuine interest of the people of Malta and Gozo, and shall continue to prove the desperate need for the Third Party in our country,” read a PD statement.

“PD continues to welcome the disillusioned political refugees who have been failed by the parties forming the status quo and who, like the Partit Demokratiku and its MPs, do not recognise Adrian Delia as the Leader of the Opposition. The ideals of Forza Nazzjonali shall live on in PD, as they have since Delia's election.”

“Partit Demokratiku, Malta’s Third Party, shall continue to bear the banner of justice independence and good governance, in the fashion of David vs Goliath.”

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