MZPN v Team Start: officials from PN’s two youth groups trade insults

From 'handbags' to 'keychains', it only gets worse for the Nationalist Party with officials from its two youth groups having a go at each other on Facebook

Nicky 'keychain' Azzopardi, MZPN Vice President, and Thomas 'handbag' De Martino, Team Start president
Nicky 'keychain' Azzopardi, MZPN Vice President, and Thomas 'handbag' De Martino, Team Start president

Evidently, there is no love lost between Nicky Azzopardi and Thomas De Martino, officials from the Nationalist Party’s two youth groups.

Azzopardi is vice president of the Moviment Żgħażagħ Partit Nazzjonalista (MZPN) and De Martino heads the newer youth section, Team Start PN.

In a Facebook spat on Thursday morning, the two officials had a go at each other after De Martino posted a comment beneath a post showing MZPN secretary Emma Portelli Bonnici calling for change.

Screen shots of the exchange were leaked to MaltaToday.

De Martino highlighted that Portelli Bonnici had on her Instagram spoken in favour of abortion, to which Azzopardi responded unceremoniously by calling him "a cabbage" for "attacking the messenger rather than analysing the message". 

In a subsequent reply, De Martino decried the MZPN’s state, insisting that during an electoral campaign in which the party was speaking against abortion, Portelli Bonnici was going the other way.

The two traded puerile insults, with Azzopardi describing De Martino as "a handbag" for the party leadership and the Team Start president rebutting by describing Azzopardi "a keychain".

MZPN has positioned itself against party leader Adrian Delia, with Portelli Bonnici being one of the masterminds behind the petition that called for an extraordinary general council to determine Delia’s future.

Team Start PN was an initiative started by Delia shortly after becoming leader to involve young people voting for the first time and is solidly behind the leader.

Tension between both groups, which have been described by PN insiders as ‘rivals’, has been rising in the wake of May’s electoral results and the subsequent push to depose Delia by some PN functionaries.

The two groups drew up separate post-election reports, reaching different conclusions as to why the PN suffered the defeat it did. MZPN pinned the blame on the party leadership and certain decisions taken since Delia became leader, while Team Start PN decried the lack of unity within the parliamentary group as a result of MPs who refused to accept the leader.

The PN is expected to hold an extraordinary general council on 27 July when councillors will be expected to have their say on a vote of confidence in Delia.