The Malta Independent 22 July 2019, Monday

Delia resignation not on the cards as PN parliamentary group set to meet on Tuesday

Rachel Attard Sunday, 16 June 2019, 10:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Nationalist Party’s parliamentary group is set to meet again on Tuesday. While the resignation of embattled leader Adrian Delia is not on the cards, PN MPs speaking to this newspaper yesterday said that they are expecting some “concrete proposals” on the way forward and on the quagmire the party is in.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, given the situation’s sensitivity and the rule that what is said in the parliamentary group stays within the parliamentary group, the MPs who did give carefully measured comments said that Delia is expected to have come up with proposals on the many changes to the Party and its workings for which many MPs are clamouring.

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Delia will no doubt have some difficult decisions before him, with MPs wanting a head, or heads, to roll after the Party’s latest election misfortune.

At the end of what must have been one of the longest ever parliamentary group meetings on Tuesday, Nationalist Party MPs were adamant that responsibility must be shouldered.

The MPs left it for the leadership team to decide whether this means the resignation of leader Delia on his own, that of him with others or that of just the secretary-general, Clyde Puli. MPs who spoke to this newspaper earlier this week said that Delia had been given a few days to consider his options before taking a decision. But other MPs said that no ultimatum had been given, a contradiction that exposes how matters are not exactly crystal clear within the parliamentary group.

Tuesday’s eight-hour meeting, which stretched on until 2am on Wednesday morning, saw Delia taking criticism for most of the time, as only two MPs reportedly spoke in his favour: Carm Mifsud Bonnici and Edwin Vassallo. The MPs made it clear that the Party cannot continue to work in ‘business as usual’ mode after having suffered its worst ever election defeats in the European Parliament and local council elections held in May.

Showing leadership does not necessarily mean resigning; acknowledging one’s mistakes and making an attempt to change direction would go some way towards trying to take the Party forward. Other MPs were more direct in their speeches and saw no way out other than the resignation of Delia and his team, or that of the secretary-general.

MPs speaking to this newspaper following the meeting said that Delia was mainly quiet and was described as a ‘good listener’.  He gave only a few measured concluding remarks, to the effect that he would reflect on everything that had been said.

Questions were also raised regarding whether Delia was electable and whether the Party, in its current state, was electable. For many years, the PN was a Party that embraced political diversity but it was pointed out during the meeting that, the way things stand, fewer people are identifying themselves with the leader and the leadership.

MPs also complained that they had not been involved at all in the election campaign and that they had come to know what the Party was thinking and proposing from the media.

Delia has said that he will not resign, following the May elections, and is insisting that the Party members elected him to lead them to the next general election, slated in for 2022.

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