Nationalist Party to convene general council despite ‘invalid’ signatures

Of the 200 signatures presented, 28 were not councillors, 55 did not have their membership up to date • Kristy Debono says she has accepted the petition but unpaid memberships will have to be regularised ahead of any vote 

The Nationalist Party has said it would be convening its General Council despite a number of invalid signatures
The Nationalist Party has said it would be convening its General Council despite a number of invalid signatures

The Nationalist Party’s General Council will be convened for a vote of confidence in party leader Adrian Delia, despite a petition presented yesterday for this to happen containing a number of invalid signatures, the party said on Wednesday.

Yesterday, former PN candidate Ivan Bartolo presented the party with a list of 200 signatures asking for the Council to be convened and for a vote to be taken on whether Delia should resign by way of taking responsibility for the party’s electoral loss. According to the PN's statute, 150 signatures are required to convene an extraordinary meeting of the General Council. 

In a statement, General Council president Kristy Debono said that after the necessary verifications, 84 of the 200 signatures presented were deemed to have been invalid, or belonged to individuals whose party membership had not been renewed.

“It is clear that 28 individuals who signed the petition have no right to sign as members of the General Council because they are in fact not members of the council,” Debono said.  

23 of these 28 individuals were not members of the General Council, while five other individuals who had signed had refused, according to the statement.

Debono said it also transpired that 14 of the signatories had last paid their membership in 2017, while 41 had last paid their membership in 2018. There were also instances were the person’s name and surname did not match the name on their identity card.

“For this reason, after making verifications, I am, on the basis of Article 31 of the Nationalist Party’s statute, pass on this request by these General Council members to the Nationalist Party’s executive council in order for the process to start for the General Council to be convened in order for an agenda to be drawn up and approved,” Debono said.

When contacted, Debono said that she had decided to accept signatures of individuals who did not have their membership up to date despite not being completely in line with the party statute.

"I have no intention of obstructing the process and there is no possibility for the executive to overturn this decision. Had we wanted to delay or obstruct the process now would have been the chance to do it. I believe that we should move forward," Debono said.

However, she insisted that if the process ended up with a vote of sorts in the General Council these 55 councilors and any others in the same position would need to regularise their position with regards to membership before being allowed to vote.

"I could have sent the petition back and asked the proponents to get these 55 signatures regularised before accepting it, but this would have simply delayed the process," Debono said.  

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