[WATCH] ‘Delia must take clear policy stands to become more credible’

On Xtra: Academics George Vital Zammit and Simon Mercieca discuss the future of the Nationalist Party under Adrian Delia

PN leader Adrian Delia
PN leader Adrian Delia

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia must take a clear stand on various issues across the board, academics George Vital Zammit and Simon Mercieca said on TVM’s XTRA, where the PN’s leadership and future were discussed. 

Historian Simon Mercieca, who was part of the team that drafted the PN’s 2013 election loss report, said the party had a mixture of clashing ideologies that had resulted in a loss of identity. “In my opinion, the PN should target its core voters, which I think hold conservative beliefs. Once it rallies this group of people, then it will start recovering its lost voters,” he said.  

Mercieca described the PN core voter as those people who “vote purely on the ideology they possess.” 

On the other hand, public policy expert George Vital Zammit said the PN leadership is still finding its feet, having lost its touch with several factions of society. “An example that comes to mind is the 2011 stand on divorce, where the party automatically lost a large portion of voters.” 

Vital Zammit said that the PN has always been a party of broad coalitions, with the narrative employed by Joseph Muscat for Labour being that of a “movement”, echoing similar calls by former PN prime minister Eddie Fenech Adami. 

Both guests agreed that Delia needed better political advisors. “I am still confused as who is a spokesperson on several issues,” Mercieca said. 

Vital Zammit said Delia had to take a solid stand on issues like immigration, foreign policy and the economy. Both guests said the PN parliamentary group right now did not have any individual capable of replacing Delia had the embattled leader have to resign. 

Michael Farrugia interviewed 

In the first part of the programme, home affairs minister Michael Farrugia paid tribute to the service of police officers. “The police force is always a heavily criticised section of society. The police force is always shown in a bad light, not everything is good, but we have been concentrating our efforts to improve it as best we can.” 

He said police had been given raised wages, the right to unionise, and had unpaid wages settled. A new hotline will be introduced where police officer is found inside a police station, so that people ca contact the police GHQ itself. “This will ensure that we would be providing the maximum outreach to the public,” he said. 

Farrugia also denied that the police had any information beforehand of an assassination plot on the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. When asked why police weren’t posted near Caruana Galizia’s residence, irrespectively of her decision to refuse a police detail, Farrugia said no police officers had been present since 2010. “The police force didn’t have a police watch near her house since 2010, coincidentally under the previous administration. On the other hand, I am informed that police patrol frequency was increased,” the minister said. 

Farrugia said he stood by Commissioner of Police Lawrence Cutajar to lead the investigation into the journalist’s investigation, and insisted the murder investigation required time. “It’s not an issue of finding the people who commissioned her murder; it’s an issue of producing enough evidence when they are taken to court,” he insisted. 

Nationalist MP Beppe Fenech Adami said in a video comment, that the police force had failed to modernise itself in the face of new forms of criminality, which he said had increased. Fenech Adami also claimed that there were several cases which have not been investigated due to political influence.  

“I think he [Beppe Fenech Adami] forgot the time when he was parliamentary assistant and investigations were dropped as soon as a political figure’s name cropped up, and still thinks that we live in that time,” Farrugia hit back, referring to the Capitalone investigation of 2013 that police failed to investigate when it turned out that Beppe Fenech Adami could be implicated.