The Malta Independent 25 February 2020, Tuesday

‘Judas priests’ or ‘Blue heroes’? Division in PN widens ahead of crucial meeting

Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 08:11 Last update: about 14 days ago

The last few days have exposed a widening gap between leader Adrian Delia and a section of the Nationalist Party which wants him out.

While Delia faces the challenge of losing, until now, people who were seen close to him – Robert Arrgo, Clyde Puli and Kristy Debono – he adamantly continues to hold on to his seat as party leader, while calls for his resignation mount.

The crisis – which was on the back burner while Labour dealt with its own weeks of distress, and emerged from them united behind a new leader and prime minister – erupted after the publication of a survey which showed that Delia continued to lose support.

This prompted several MPs to call for Delia’s departure during a lengthy meeting on Wednesday, but Delia hung on in spite of losing top officials who abandoned their position.

Until last week, MPs who opposed Delia were doing so without exposing themselves much, although some of them were more vocal than others in their quest to change the leadership.

But last Wednesday, 17 MPs made it clear to Delia that they want him out. This inevitably led to further division in the party, especially among supporters, with those believing Delia should remain because he was democratically elected by the party members in an open challenge against the rest.

In the past hours, the MPs who want Delia out have been branded as traitors by Delia’s supporters, but they were quickly re-branded as blue heroes by the anti-Delia faction.

The widening division comes ahead  of a crucial meeting of the party’s executive committee which is set to discuss the way forward after the resignations that were handed in last week.

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