Consider a non-Labour President, Delia urges Muscat

Opposition leader Adrian Delia said Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had the chance to send out a strong message when appointing Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca's successor next year

Adrian Delia has extended an invitation to the Prime Minister to appoint a new President next year who is not part of the Labour camp.

The Opposition leader, speaking during an interview on NET FM Sunday, said that, when the time comes in April for Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca to step down, Joseph Muscat should replace her by someone who is not necessarily in the Labour Party, since this would send a positive signal.

“If Muscat really cares about our country, he should not lose this opportunity,” Delia said, “I extend a serious invitation to the Prime Minister to choose a President who doesn’t isn’t necessarily associated with Labour – this will send a strong signal, and after this we can start constitutional and institutional changes.”

Turning to the subject of Neville Gafa, Delia has said that Muscat’s previous decisions to keep people like Konrad Mizzi means that he now can’t take the required action against others implicated in wrongdoings.

He noted that while it was reported that Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne had terminated Gafa’s employment at the Foundation for Medical Services following a controversial trip to Libya, the Prime Minister had no choice but to praise the civil servant.

Gafa was allegedly involved in a Libyan medical visas racket in 2016, and was recently back in the news when it was reported that he met a Libyan militia leader during a “personal visit” to Libya.

Despite this, the Prime Minister has stood by Gafa, and told reporters a few days ago that the official was doing “a good job”.

Delia said that, since Muscat had not dismissed top officials such as the Tourism Minister, he now had his hands tried when it came to how to act regarding Gafa.

“The government partly wants to take action when there are serious allegations, but we then have a Prime Minister who has his hands tied because of decisions he took in the past,” Delia said, “There are people in Castille who are protected and who can do no evil.”

Delia also emphasised that Alleanza Bidla leader Ivan Grech Mintoff – who said that he had gotten word of an imminent threat on his life after he revealed more details about the visas racket and Gafa’s visit to Libya – should be afforded all the necessary protection.

“This is a very serious matter.... As a Nationalist Party, we are obliged to defend his right to speak up without fear, and he should be given all needed protection by the authorities.”

Institutions need to be seriously re-evaluated

Asked about the Venice Commission’s report on Malta, Delia said that it was clear that the country needed to take a good look at its institutional and legal structures to see how they could be improved.


Crucial checks and balances on Prime Minister’s powers missing - Venice Commission

“It is true that it wasn’t Muscat who chose the way our institutions and roles, such as the Attorney General, and Police Commission, are structured,” Delia said.

“But the difference now is that Muscat chose who to place in these positions. And because he chose people which would allow him to have certain powers himself, this has made existing safeguards not enough.”

So, while before people occupying those roles could act independently, they now have to serve Muscat, he emphasised.