Clyde Puli denies reports he will not re-contest Secretary General post

The Nationalist Party secretary general's post comes up for re-election in November

Clyde Puli
Clyde Puli

Nationalist Party secretary general Clyde Puli has denied reports that he will step down from his post when the term expires in November.

Speaking to sister newspaper Illum, Puli insisted he will not abandon the party “at its most difficult moment”.

He was reacting to a report in Times of Malta that quoted high-level PN sources saying Puli will not seek re-election as secretary general in November to concentrate on his district. Puli is also an MP.

The sources quoted by Times of Malta said Puli would likely be contested when his term is up.

The report in Times of Malta speculating on Puli's future
The report in Times of Malta speculating on Puli's future

But Puli insisted with Illum that he never told the Times that he will not contest. “I never told Ivan Camilleri of the Times that I will not contest the next election… I am not going to abandon the party in its most difficult moment. The present situation strengthens my will to continue serving in the party’s best interest. Nowhere did I tell him that I am not going to contest.”

Puli said the information was dished out by the Times journalist for his own reasons. “I also told him that I will not give in to the spin, lies and character assassination.”

Puli came under fire after the European and local council elections when he appeared on NET TV with a cutting from it-Torċa with the result of a 2017 survey showing the PN trailing by 75,000 votes. Puli had used the figure to argue that the election result could have been much worse, a comment that earned him rebuke.

With Illum, Puli insisted that his comments should not be interpreted as if he was happy with the election results.

“I said surveys were showing that every time the party appeared divided, it was losing support and when it appeared united, it was recovering… Who knows if we spent two years united, rather than two months? Does this mean I was happy with the election result?”

The PN suffered two massive drubbings last May in the European and local elections, prompting calls for Adrian Delia’s removal.

The PN executive is tonight expected to discuss a request filed by councillors for an extraordinary general council calling on Delia to resign. The debate will also feature a counter motion filed yesterday by a different set of councillors, requesting that MPs who do not toe the party line be disciplined.