The Malta Independent 25 February 2020, Tuesday

TMIS Editorial - Delia: Even Joseph and Konrad were democratically elected

Sunday, 9 February 2020, 11:24 Last update: about 16 days ago

The Nationalist Party Leader, Adrian Delia, once again finds himself in an impossible situation and, once again, he seems to be refusing to accept reality.

Delia is under immense pressure to resign following last Sunday’s MaltaToday survey, which saw his trust rating plummet to just 13.5%. The survey came just a few weeks after the Labour government went through a turbulent time, when links between the heinous murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia and the Office of the Prime Minister were further exposed, leading to the resignations of Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri and Konrad Mizzi.

This was a time when thousands marched in the streets against corruption, and where the Labour Party was forced to elect a new leader.

Despite all of the above, the PN did not gain any ground. On the contrary, its popularity has plummeted to the lowest levels ever. Something is clearly very wrong, and it would be wrong to lay the blame solely at the feet of the PN Parliamentary Group.

Yes, many Nationalist MPs have not made it easy for Delia and backstabbing and badmouthing have been the order of the day inside the PN for the past couple of years. But the situation the party finds itself in now is not only the result of internal dissent. The PN lacks vision and purpose, its leader has failed to get a grip on his own people and the country has a Prime Minister who is liked and trusted by a vast majority.

The argument that the PN Leader is sticking to is that he was democratically elected by the Nationalist tesserati (paid-up members). These, he says, gave him a mandate to lead the PN into the next general election and he cannot let them down and betray the trust they placed in him.

The problem is that not only the tesserati will be asked to vote in the 2022 election. And the PN has turned itself into a losing party. There is no chance in hell that the PN will win the election. In fact, the surveys show that it is heading towards its worst trashing yet. So what is the point of Delia and the current leadership team staying on?

Delia says the aim of the party is not only to win elections but also to fight corruption. But how can corruption be stamped out if the party remains in Opposition? How can it be in a strong position to make changes if everything is pointing towards a future Labour government with a two-thirds Parliamentary majority? Will corruption not only become worse under a Labour dictatorship?

Delia’s argument that he should stay for the simple reason that he was elected in a democratic election does not hold water. Joseph Muscat, too, was democratically elected. So was Konrad Mizzi. Should they have stayed on as Prime Minister and Minister respectively because they were elected by the people? This is not how politics work.

We are, of course, not comparing the situation of Joseph Muscat and Konrad Mizzi to that of Adrian Delia. The circumstances are completely different. But the concept is the same. A democratic election does not mean that politicians cannot be unseated, or that they should not acknowledge their desperate situation and move out for the good of the party and the country.

Delia must acknowledge that it is not only his Parliamentary Group that is telling him to go. Louis Galea, the man he entrusted to lead the PN reform, has also said, in no unclear terms, that the party must have a new leadership team. The PN’s youth arm, the MZPN, has also told him he must go. More importantly, the electorate is saying that it does not trust Delia to lead the PN into the general election. Delia keeps insisting that the PN is the only real alternative to the corrupt Labour government, but the people are far from convinced.

Delia says he entered politics to serve. He has done that, there is no doubt about it, but the time has come for him to realise that the party, under his leadership, has not gained any ground, it has done the opposite.

Even if he were to fire all of his dissenting MPs, something which he said he will not do, it would still not be enough for the party to be resuscitated. Not even the party reform and a reviewed statute will cut it. This issue will not go away.

Delia says he has sacrificed a lot in his quest to turn the party into a winning team again. It seems, unfortunately, that he will need to sacrifice a bit more, his role, in fact.

There is only one option left: that of resigning and hoping that the party can find a new leader under which all factions can unite, and who will give the PN an aspiring vision for the future.

 

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