The Malta Independent 17 July 2018, Tuesday

Updated: David Agius, Toni Bezzina submit nominations for PN deputy leadership posts

Friday, 13 October 2017, 13:59 Last update: about 10 months ago

Nationalist Party Whip David Agius today submitted his nomination to contest for the post of deputy leader for parliamentary affairs, while PN MP Toni Bezzina submitted his nomination for the post of deputy leader for party affairs.

Nominations closed at 6pm today.

Agius was under great pressure not to put his name forward to make way for the nomination of Chris Said, who was reportedly insisting that he should be uncontested in the race.


Said lost the leadership race to Adrian Delia, who encouraged Said to run for deputy leader. Vassallo, who supported Said in the leadership election, said he would step aside if Said contests.

Agius, however, did not budge and submitted his nomination. Around an hour before the nomination deadline, Chris Said released a Facebook statement explaining why he was not contesting.

Since there are only two candidates vying for the post of deputy leader for parliamentary affairs - Agius and PN MP Edwin Vassallo - the planned first phase of the election where only the party councillors would vote will not take place, since this is meant to narrow down the choice to two candidates.

There is a similar scenario for the post of deputy leader for party affairs. Robert Arrigo was originally the only contender for the post, however PN MP Toni Bezzina submitted his nomination during the last hour. 

When fielding questions from the press about pressure for him not to contest to make way for Chris Said, Agius said there is "mutual respect" between the pair who have been involved with the PN for many years. He confirmed that he spoke with Said before submitting his bid. 

When asked about reports of pressure not to contest, Agius said that he had always declared that he would contest the post of deputy leader, irrespective of whoever won the leadership race. 

He also presented the required document containing 360 signatures from various party members in support of his bid, reminding members of the press that he only required 10. 

The inclusion of paid members' votes for the deputy leadership race is an important and positive step, he said.

"I am a politician of the people, and want the party to be a voice of the people".

Agius believes he would be a good candidate because of his experience in parliament and previous role as PN whip and previously government whip. He has been elected to parliament at every election since 2003. "I worked as government whip during a one seat majority, which was no easy task". 

Agius spoke of parliamentary reform, necessitating mutual respect between both sides of the house. "I believe this roll requires deep knowledge of how parliament and government works." 

Agius also sits on the House Business Committee within parliament.

He spoke of his work under various PN leaders: Eddie Fenech Adami, Lawrence Gonzi, Simon Busuttil and now Adrian Delia.

Agius thanked all those who elected him on two districts during the 3 June snap election. 

Being energetic, loyal and close to the people are qualities he feels help him take up the position.


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