Ivan Bartolo does not rule out future PN leadership bid

The former PN candidate yesterday presented the party’s administration with a petition calling for the general council to be convened and seek a vote of confidence in Adrian Delia

Ivan Bartolo outside the PN headquarters yesterday
Ivan Bartolo outside the PN headquarters yesterday

Former Nationalist Party election candidate Ivan Bartolo has not ruled out running for party leader, but said this was not the time for "unfounded speculation".

Bartolo yesterday fronted the initiative to oust PN leader Adrian Delia, insisting with journalists that the status quo could not be allowed to continue.

Bartolo, together with former executive president Mark Anthony Sammut, MZPN secretary general Emma Portelli Bonnici, vice president of the PN’s professionals’ forum Martin Musumeci and councillor Emvin Bartolo, presented the party’s leadership with a petition calling for the general council to be convened within a week.

The petition is calling for the council to discuss and vote on whether members believe that, following the results of the local council and European Parliament elections, the party leader should take political responsibility and resign. No MPs signed the petition.

READ MORE: PN councillors present 200 signatures calling for confidence vote in Adrian Delia

Asked why he was the one to present the request, given that he had stepped away from politics just over a year ago, Bartolo said this did not preclude him from taking this initiative as a concerned citizen

The entrepreneur, who had narrowly missed out on a seat in parliament in the last general election had been selected by leader Adrian Delia to lead the party’s business development efforts but resigned in May last year, after having decided that “politics was not a journey [he] wanted to pursue”.      

Bartolo was rumoured to have left the post due to a lack of initiative by the party leadership to implement his proposals.

His return to the public eye in recent weeks has fuelled speculation that he may be mulling a leadership bid of his own, with some party insiders having suggested this as a possibility.

Asked to comment on such a possibility and whether he ruled out a leadership bid now and in the foreseeable future, Bartolo insisted that he did not wish to speculate.

READ MORE: Five scenarios for the PN if Delia goes to a confidence vote

“We must not get lost in Chinese whispers and unfounded speculation. The purpose of the initiative is to simply unlock the status quo that has hijacked the PN. The PN councillors are being encouraged to debate and find a way forward for the benefit of the party. It is imperative that the party becomes a viable alternative to ensure we protect our democracy,” Bartolo said in his reply.

Despite Delia having faced a number of mutinies since being elected leader, at no point has any one candidate stepped forward to challenge his leadership.

While some MPs have openly expressed their feelings about the current situation, the majority of the party’s MPs have been tight-lipped about whether they feel Delia should go.

READ MORE: PN members collect signatures to stop confidence vote, blame ‘pseudo-NGOs’ for election loss