The Malta Independent 2 February 2023, Thursday
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TMID Editorial: The new PN leader’s task ahead

Monday, 18 September 2017, 14:35 Last update: about 6 years ago

Let us do the maths first.

19,350 PN card holding members had the right to vote to choose the new PN leader. 3,849 of them did not manage to get their voting document, or did not bother. 759 collected their voting document but did not bother to go and vote. A further 76 invalidated their voting document.

Adrian Delia got elected by 7,734 votes or 52.7% of the votes cast, beating Chris Said who got only 6,932 votes or 44.7% of the votes cast. But the equation misses out the 4,684 votes that somehow or other were not cast (3,849 did not collect their votes, 759 collected their votes but then did not bother to go and vote, and 76 invalidated their votes).


Now one does not want to emulate Alfred Sant's 'Partnership rebah' stunt, or add 4,684 votes to Said's 6,932 votes, but the fact remains that Dr Delia got 'just' 802 votes more than Dr Said, after a fierce leadership battle that well-nigh split the party. Or rather that Dr Delia got just under 40% of the total vote.

This is not stretching things. It is a measure of the real situation.

Interviewed yesterday morning on NET TV, Dr Delia compared his election to the attainment of Independence or to EU accession. Those were real historical moments in Malta's political history when Malta became a sovereign nation and when, as a sovereign nation, Malta joined as an equal the other EU Member States. In no way are they comparable to the election of a party leader, hard-fought though this might be.

Both events were, as Dr Delia stressed, moments where the country faced the fear of the unknown with courage, but neither event created unity. The old-timers remember the Labour protests against Independence even during the midnight celebration itself on 21 September 1964 and Labour had campaigned bitterly against EU accession to the referendum and even after that.

It is praiseworthy for Dr Delia to commit himself to work hard to address the concerns of those who did not agree with him.

There have already been those who had previously argued against Dr Delia who have now written in favour of party unity and who have congratulated Dr Delia on his win. But others still hold out and reiterate the concerns that were aired during the campaign. It is these concerns that Dr Delia must address.

And outside the PN itself, there is the country at large watching what has been happening inside the party and the other party, the Labour government with which Dr Delia's PN must measure itself. Speaking yesterday morning at Zebbug, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has already lobbed a googly towards the new PN leader: revert the Opposition refusal to take part in the committee being set up to decide Malta's future waste strategy. Now if that was the result of a decision taken by the previous PN leader, that is one thing, but if it was a decision, say, of the parliamentary group or the party executive, it's another matter.

Dr Muscat also invited Dr Delia's PN to change from being a negative party to a more positive one. That may be one way of looking at it. How to square that with the stances adopted by the previous PN leader is one of the harshest tasks facing the new leader.


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