PN factions have eyes set on David Stellini’s vacant seat

MaltaToday has learnt that David Stellini plans to return to his original posting with the EPP in Brussels after giving notice that he plans to resign his parliamentary seat • Rival PN factions move to co-opt their own favourite

The rival factions inside the Nationalist Party have approached MP David Stellini in a bid to have his seat vacated to install their own member of choice inside the House of Representatives.

Gozitan MP David Stellini – an MEP candidate – left his well-paid job in Brussels as a spokesperson for the European People’s Party in the European Parliament, to stand for election in 2017.

He left Brussels on unpaid leave, but MaltaToday is informed that he has given notice to the EPP office that he intends returning to his original posting after resigning his parliamentary seat.

Stellini was elected to Parliament for the first time in the casual election on the 13th district for the seat vacated by Nationalist MP Marthese Portelli, who was elected on two districts.

Given that Stellini was elected by a casual election, his resignation from the House would prompt a co-option, allowing the PN to select any person to be installed as an MP.

Stellini has in the past spoken out about the need to have full-time MPs receiving a commensurate salary, citing his own personal situation.

“When I moved to Malta I started earning €1,300 a month – my parliamentary stipend. I had to find either a job or clients to start my consultancy. Because of that, I had to focus mainly on earning extra money, as I did not just move here by myself, but brought my wife, who is Belgian, over and our two children as well,” he had told The Malta Independent.

“Although parliamentary work requires a lot of time and concentration, I was split, as I also had to find work to provide for my family. I had to spend a lot of my time on finding clients, I approached roughly 25 major companies, and a few odd jobs were found. Primarily however, I was earning just €1,300 a month, my parliamentary stipend, which is less than what a minister’s driver gets paid.”

But now his notice to resign his seat has sparked approaches from both factions within the PN to only leave when the time is ripe for the co-option of their choice.

One faction which is loosely led by Beppe Fenech Adami and former PN leader Simon Busuttil, have suggested that he leaves when Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola might be in a position to return to Malta – ostensibly, Metsola is touted as an alternative to the PN’s beleaguered party chief Adrian Delia.

On the other side of the PN political spectrum, the Delia faction wants Stellini to leave at a more appropriate time to allow them to co-opt Jean Pierre Debono.

Debono was also elected to the House for the first time in 2017, but he relinquished his parliamentary seat to force a casual election – filled by an MP who resigned immediately – so that Adrian Delia could enter the House as Opposition leader.

Debono is the husband of MP Kristy Debono and is employed in the PN administration, and naturally a staunch ally of Adrian Delia.

Stellini has also said that he finds the Maltese political scene difficult to operate in – citing serious problems when he came to seek alternative employment. His short stint as a consultant with the Corinthia Group of Companies opened him up to accusations of being too close to big business, even though his employment record with big business pales in comparison with the business relationships of other MPs.

“I spent time over the past years looking for a job, and was not able to focus on politics as much as I would have liked. I was trying to survive financially. During the first year, I was using my savings to survive here. Now they have run out and I still have to focus on finding clients, and when you do find clients, another issue crops up – conflicts of interest since I work with companies which have major projects in this country,” he had said.

Stellini said that due to his employment with the Corinthia Group, he leaves any discussions inside the PN structures when any issues concerning the Corinthia’s plans for development at St George’s Bay crop up.

“There were other internal discussions where I told my colleagues I could not be present due to my conflict of interest. I don’t have a job contract with Corinthia, but I invoice them and they pay me for the work I do for them.”

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