The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

Adrian Delia now ‘more determined to stay as party leader’

Rachel Attard and Neil Camilleri Wednesday, 7 November 2018, 10:06 Last update: about 10 days ago

Adrian Delia is now “more determined than ever” to remain as Nationalist Party leader, a long serving PN MP has told The Malta Independent.

Over the past days it was reported that Delia’s aides were mulling a “dignified exit” for the leader, who is currently going through a difficult personal issue. His wife, Nickie Vella de Fremeaux, has filed for separation.

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Malta Today reported on Sunday that Delia’s closest allies - MP Hermann Schiavone, PN media chief Pierre Portelli and PN Secretary General Clyde Puli - have been engaging in discussions on the future of Delia and the prospect of his resignation.  

A number of messages sent by Schiavone to Vella de Fremeaux were published over the weekend. In one of the messages, the Birzebbugia MP tells Delia’s wife that her husband was “not being himself.”

Schiavone later said the messages had been taken out of context, explaining that they had been sent back in March.

When asked about the Malta Today story on Monday afternoon, Delia said he would not comment on such issues and was only willing to speak about the subject of the day’s press conference – a meeting with the Malta Motorsport Federation. The PN later told the Times that Delia was “here to stay.”

The Malta Independent has since spoken to a Nationalist MP who is not attached to any of the factions within the PN – one backing Delia’s leadership, and the other one opposing it.

The MP explained that, despite the situation, Delia seems to be more determined than ever to stay on at the helm of the PN.

The MP, who asked to remain anonymous, explained, however, that people from Delia’s faction are urging their leader to stay while others who are considered to form part of the opposing faction have been pushing the idea that he should resign and leave.

The MP who spoke to this newspaper said the issue was “purely a personal one” and it should have no bearing on Delia’s capability as a politician. “He is not the first party leader to have had marital problems and is certainly not the only serving MP who is separated from his wife. Yet no one is judging these MPs or asking them to resign. Just because an MP separates from him his wife does not make him a bad politician.”

The MP said Delia’s personal issues started earlier this year but have not affected his capability as leader of the party. “In fact it is only now that the news came out that there has been talk of him resigning.”

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