Two Gozitan voters file court protest to block Jean Pierre Debono’s co-option to Parliament

In a judicial protest filed by Franco Debono’s legal office on behalf of two Gozitan voters, the Nationalist Party is being asked not to proceed with Jean Pierre Debono’s co-option because they insist David Stellini's seat should be filled by a Gozitan

The PN's internal troubles over Jean Pierre Debono's co-option have ended up in court
The PN's internal troubles over Jean Pierre Debono's co-option have ended up in court

Two Gozitan voters are insisting that the parliamentary seat from Gozo vacated by David Stellini should be taken up by Kevin Cutajar, a Nationalist Party candidate from Gozo.

In a judicial protest filed on Monday morning, Gozitan voters Mariella Mercieca and Daniel Cilia are asking the PN not to proceed with the co-option process of Jean Pierre Debono.

The protest signed by lawyers Amadeus Cachia and Damian Cassar from the legal office of former PN MP Franco Debono, insists that it has always been the PN’s practice to co-opt somebody from the same district where the vacancy arose.

Stellini was elected on the 13th district after Marthese Portelli gave up her seat. Debono was elected on the seventh district but gave up his seat to pave the way for Adrian Delia’s co-option to Parliament when he became leader of the PN in September 2017.

During last Saturday’s vote at the executive committee, the only two people contesting the co-option were Debono and Cutajar, which the former won by 42 votes against 40.

The judicial protest says Saturday’s vote was vitiated after claims emerged that two people on the executive were not eligible to vote and the person responsible for drawing up the list of eligible members was Debono himself. It also claims that the co-option process is anti-constitutional because the wishes of voters from the 13th district are not being respected.

The judicial protest is asking PN secretary general Clyde Puli to cancel and revoke Saturday’s co-option vote and immediately call another meeting of the executive committee to co-opt someone in a regular manner, according to the law and the party statute.

The PN is being held responsible for any damages that may result unless the situation was rectified. The voters are not ruling out further court procedures.

In comments to MaltaToday, Mercieca said that she was presenting the judicial protest because Debono’s swearing-in as an MP did not represent the wishes of voters from Gozo.

“If a seat is vacated, the choice to replace it should be made by the district from where it was vacated and not based on some promise made to a person sometime before,” Mercieca said, adding it was in the best interests of Gozo to retain the representation it had in Parliament.

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