[WATCH] Adrian Delia to reshuffle shadow cabinet, claims his leadership no longer in question

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia says government alone cannot pull nation out of political crisis that saw previous Prime Minister Joseph Muscat resign

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia
Opposition Leader Adrian Delia

Opposition Leader Adrian Delia said he is considering a shadow Cabinet reshuffle at a time when new Labour Prime Minister Robert Abela has stamped his authority with a reorganised Cabinet that introduced new blood into the executive.

There were pundit interpretations that such a transformation could put increased pressure on the Opposition to reopen the question of Delia's leadership, someone who, like Abela himself, was elected by party members. Delia, however, was quick to suppress such a notion and insisted that his legitimacy as Nationalist Party leader was not in contention.

"Absolutely not. That issue is a case closed. Our statute is clear on this. What we need now is to work harder than ever before to ensure the best for our country," he told MaltaToday.

Delia won a confidence vote amongst PN councilors in July by 67.75%.

However, when asked about whether he was considering a shadow Cabinet reshuffle, Delia was unequivocal and said that such a move was on the cards.

"Yes, I am considering a reshuffle. I cannot give out any details at this stage.... [but such a move] will act as a measure to make sure that every person in the parliamentary group is used appropriately for a pro-positive reaction to the needs of the country," he said.

Government alone cannot pull us out of crisis

Delia said that the government alone, headed by a new State leader, could not possibly deliver Malta out of the crisis that the country had been faced with in recent months. 

"The government alone cannot pull us out of what the country is going through right now, the constitutional crises we were faced with and the damage to our reputation. A lot more needs to be done. The government alone cannot do it. The Opposition needs to be present to help make sure that the changes being made are not just cosmetic, not just on paper, but done with seriousness and practicality," Delia said.

Within five days of taking the oath of office as Malta's new Prime Minister, Abela has made changes that were praised as positive and sanguine.

One of these changes was the removal of the Police Commissioner, Lawrence Cutajar, who had been the subject of routine criticism from the Opposition and civil society for close to two years.

"Certainly, I cannot disagree with what happened this morning, the resignation of the Police Commissioner that we, as a party, have been practically asking for for years... the people thought that this is something that needs to happen and that if it happened before, there is a strong possibility that certain issues Malta has faced could have been avoided.

"However, my job as Opposition leader is not to have faith in the Prime Minister or the government but to ascertain that the Opposition is doing its duty as underlined in the constitution and as a representative of the people and to be a watchdog over the government. There are many things that still need to happen," Delia said.

Speaking to MaltaToday on Thursday, shadow home affairs minister Beppe Fenech Adami said that the next police commissioner should be appointed by a two-thirds majority in parliament and that Abela's decision to appoint an interim commissioner without consulting the Opposition was disappointing.

Delia invited the media and constituted bodies to the PN headquarters on Thursday to exchange New Year's greetings. In his address, Delia focused on climate change and the importance of implementing serious change through daily domestic choices. "This is the last generation that can do something to save our planet," he said.