[WATCH] Adrian Delia says leadership rival Chris Said should contest deputy leader role

PN leader Adrian Delia refused to explicitly support leadership rival Chris Said, but said he would be “good for the role”

Adrian Delia also said he will be publishing his tax returns for three years running
Adrian Delia also said he will be publishing his tax returns for three years running

PN leader Adrian Delia said he has encouraged his leadership rival Chris Said to contest the upcoming PN deputy leadership election, touting his “administrative capabilities” as a valuable asset to the party.

“Chris Said should contest the post of deputy leader,” Delia said on XtraSajf, which aired its final episode on TVM. “I think he would be good for that role.”

But Delia refused to explicitly support Said, saying that he encouraged anyone to come forward if they though they could serve the party in the role.

Delia added that all former contenders for the PN leadership were approached and offered roles within the party’s structure, but did not comment on what roles were offered to Alex Perici Calascione or Frank Portelli.

The newly-elected PN leader also said he had encouraged Pierre Portelli, the Malta Independent’s director of content and also one of his consultants throughout the campaign, to contest the role of secretary-general – even saying that the election had to be “expanded beyond David Casa’s interest.”

Delia, on his third appearance on XtraSajf this year, said he will be publishing his tax returns accumulated over three years in the near future.

The PN is currently carrying out a verification exercise on proxy votes after its electoral commission resigned en masse following a confidential report, published in MaltaToday, showing the workings of a ruse that could have resulted in falsified voter proxies.

Delia said he “did not take the report lightly” and would not let Jean Pierre Debono’s mistake “pass”.

Assistant secretary-general Jean Pierre Debono, chided by the electoral commission for handling the voter proxies, has resigned his seat as MP to trigger a casual election that is expected to be followed by the resignation of the elected candidate for the co-option of Delia to the House of Representatives. Debono is one of Delia’s loyal backers.

Interest in the deputy leadership roles also comes from Clyde Puli and David Agius, who accompanied Delia to his first meeting with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

Delia said the absence of outgoing deputy leaders Beppe Fenech Adami and Mario de Marco was not motivated by political strategy.

Another contender for the deputy role is Robert Arrigo. “His interest in the role of deputy leader is valid and he was asked to continue working for the party regardless of the outcome.”

Delia brushed off multiple allegations published in the press about his role as a middleman for property owners whose London houses were used for brothels, discounting them as “media spin”.

“That case was closed 19 years ago,” he said of the Jersey client account he held for property owner Eucharist Bajada. “My client and I were never implicated in the police report,” referring to the police raid on a Soho brothel.

Delia also played down reports of the PN’s debts, which had recently ballooned to €25 million. Without denying the amounts reported by MaltaToday, Delia claimed the party’s assets actually outweighed the debt, and that he was still considering taking a wage from the party when finances permit.