The Malta Independent 3 August 2020, Monday

Watch: Defiant Delia refuses to resign despite losing confidence vote

Neil Camilleri & Giulia Magri Tuesday, 7 July 2020, 19:09 Last update: about 26 days ago

A defiant Adrian Delia said Tuesday he will not resign, despite losing a confidence vote during a meeting of the PN parliamentary group. 

"Tomorrow will be a normal working day and I will shop up for work as both the Opposition and party leader," he said at a press conference. 

19 MPs voted against Delia, and 11 voted in favour. 

The meeting was called by Delia himself after a newspaper report on Sunday claiming that the PN leader had remained in contact with Yorgen Fenech even after he was outed as the owner of 17 Black. Delia has denied the claims and insinuated that the published chats are a fabrication. He has also reported the leak to the police. 

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MPs also discussed the PN's poor showing in recent trust ratings. 

Delia had earlier suggested that the entire PN parliamentary group submits itself to a vote of approval by the party's tesserati (paid-up members) but the idea has not gone down well with a number of MPs who want to see him gone. 

The parliamentary group meeting lasted over five hours.

The PN said that the motion for a confidence vote was proposed by Gozo MP Chris Siaid. The question put to MPs was: 'Do you have confidence in Adrian Delia as Opposition Leader?'

Delia said he would convene a meeting of the party's executive committee but Said "insisted" that the vote takes place. Therese Comodini Cachia seconded the motion, according to Net News.

Delia will, nonetheless, convene the executive committee to discuss the outcome of the vote.

Addressing a press conference, Delia said he respected the vote taken by MPs but pointed out that the party's tesserati (paid-up members) had twice voted for him to serve as Opposition Leader for a tull term. "I will respect their decision," he said. 

"I will not give up. I will continue fighting against the Labour government's corruption. Will work with greater determination. We cannot give up or give in to intimidation."

He spoke about keeping the party’s doors wide open and welcoming new people who are motivated by their love for our country.

Delia said he had asked for an open vote, but the decision taken was for the ballot to be secret.

The PN statute says, he pointed out, that the party leader is chosen by the tesserati, and their decision should be respected.

Asked if the party is moving towards a situation where it will have two leaders, Delia said he can only speak on facts, not on speculation.

He said no steps have been taken to remove him from the role of Opposition Leader. As for his role as party leader, "the tesserati elected me and no one and nothing can remove me from that role. We cannot tell the party members that their vote means nothing," he said.

Delia waxed lyrical about the "rejuvenation" phase the party is going through. "We must become younger, stronger, crisper, leaner and more relevant."

Delia said he could not tell whether any dissenting MPs would resign. "That is something you should ask them," he said.

"If it turns out that anyone had any form of business relationship, some agreement to make millions in profits from Yorgen Fenech, we will take action," he told a Labour Party reporter.

Asked if he would seek to be confirmed by the tesserati for a third time, he said he will discuss the issue in the executive committee.

He also insisted that he is not being investigated in connection with claims that he was offered money by Yorgen Fenech to ensure that MEP David Casa was not re-elected. “I am not personally being investigated. The police are investigating these claims, these rumours. There is a big difference between investigating a claim and investigating a person.”

He also insisted that there is no record of any chat between him and Yorgen Fenech on his mobile phone.

He insisted that he did not sue the Times for libel because the article published was not libellous. Delia argued, however, that the leak of information to the newspaper was against the law, but said he could not comment further because of an ongoing magisterial inquiry.


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Earlier:

 

Lips remained sealed as MPs walked into the PN headquarters.

A number of MPs, including Hermann Schiavone, Mario de Marco and Ivan Bartolo, did not give comments to the media as they made their way into the PN headquarters in Pieta`.

Therese Comodini Cachia had words of encouragement for journalists. "Your determination to provide information to the public is certainly inspiring," she said. In a later Facebook post, she said journalists and their sources should not be the target. She was likely referring to the police report filed by Delia on the Whatsapp chat leak.

There were angry scenes outside the PN HQ after the result became known, with party supporters hurling insults at unidentified individuals. 

 

The Malta Independent also revealed that Delia had a meeting earlier with former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi. The former PM did not attend the parliamentary group meeting.

Delia spent the first part of the meeting defending his position and his decision to go to the police over the Times leak. 

 

 

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