[WATCH] ‘Many’ could replace Adrian Delia and unite the PN - Mark Anthony Sammut

The former president of the PN executive refuses to mention names but says several possible leadership contenders could unite the party’s factions

Mark Anthony Sammut was a guest on Thursday's Xtra
Mark Anthony Sammut was a guest on Thursday's Xtra

A number of people within the Nationalist Party would be capable of replacing Adrian Delia as leader and uniting the party’s different factions, Mark Anthony Sammut said.

The PN’s former executive president said that while he had a number of candidates in mind, it was not appropriate to mention any names, and that he would be waiting for the persons concerned to come forward themselves.

Sammut, who resigned from his role as president of the PN’s executive committee after the party’s heavy defeat in the May European and local elections, was a guest on Xtra yesterday.

Asked by presenter Saviour Balzan who would be replacing Delia were he to be voted out in the party’s general council, which is expected to be convened soon, Sammut said he was convinced someone could be found, since there were many valid people within the PN.

The solution, for me, does not lie with the current leadership nor with previous leaderships Mark Anthony Sammut

“The solution, for me, does not lie with the current leadership nor with previous leaderships. After the general council vote is held, the process will start to plot the way forward,” Sammut said.

When it came to Ivan Bartolo - the former PN election candidate who fronted the initiative to oust Delia, and who has not ruled out running for leader himself - Sammut said that he had never personally heard Bartolo express any leadership aspirations.

“You’d have to ask him [if he is considering running for leader], but I believe he has already said that he feels he doesn’t have enough experience and that one has to go up the ladder step by step… but he never expressed to me such aspirations,” Sammut said.

Delia made his detractors drift further away

Questioned about whether the tribulations within the PN, and the party’s recent staggering electoral defeat, were all Delia’s fault, Sammut said the PN leader had taken many decision which caused the people who were not on the same page as him to drift further away.

The biggest example of this was when Delia asked former leader Simon Busuttil to suspend himself when the conclusions of the Egrant inquiry were published, Sammut added.

“He could have used that occasion to unite the party, but he acted hastily - which he now admitted he did - because he listened to people who wanted to use that opportunity to further their own personal interests,” Sammut said.

There were also decisions, concerning the line the party should follow on certain issues, which made people uncomfortable, he said, highlighting that Delia’s rhetoric about foreigners in Malta was a prime example of this.

“An example of this was the type of discourse he was using when it came to foreigners. Not everyone agreed with the way he was speaking. Although I do admit that there is a problem with the way the government has based the economy on over-population…”

Later in the programme, Balzan asked what the PN stood for, but Sammut said he was unable to answer.

“Answering that question is the biggest problem for the PN. It doesn’t know how to answer it,” Sammut said.