The Malta Independent 9 August 2020, Sunday

TMID Editorial: PN - Heads in the sand

Thursday, 9 July 2020, 08:49 Last update: about 1 month ago

A damning National Audit Office report on the VGH hospitals deal was published on Tuesday, confirming the suspicions of corruption and wrongdoing in this shady deal, but the Nationalist Party’s infighting completely overshadowed this. Instead of celebrating a ‘victory’ for having been proved right about the case Delia has taken to court, the party was engaged in a new round of infighting, which just goes to show the dire state our Opposition finds itself in.

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Delia’s leadership of the party was challenged once again and, this time round, the PN leader lost a confidence vote in his own parliamentary group. He did not lose by a small margin, either.

Yet, despite the fact that only a third of PN MPs now back Delia, and despite the dismal survey results, a defiant Delia stated that he will not budge. “The tesserati elected me as party leader and their vote has to be respected,” he said, adding that “no one and noting would remove him from his post.”

Delia’s decision, communicated during a 3am press conference, was surreal.

In the past, Delia managed to win confidence votes, despite talk that he had lost the support of the majority of his MPs, but time round things are different. 17 MPs (and two MEPs) told him that he should go.

Delia keeps bringing up the tesserati excuse, but he conveniently chooses to ignore the bigger truth out there – the fact that he is now an ineffective leader who does not have the backing of his own MPs or the public.

His position in Parliament is untenable. There is no doubt now that, every time he rises to speak, the people sitting on the government benches will tell him that he is not credible. They will undoubtedly ask if he is speaking on behalf of the entire parliamentary group or behalf of those 11 who backed him.

Despite the countless scandals and corruption, he has not moved forward an inch, and people trust Robert Abela much more than they trust him. There is absolutely no reason why he should stay on. Perhaps he can still have a role in the PN, but definitely not as leader.

But he is not the only problem.

The MPs who voted against him knew that the confidence vote on its own would not lead to anything. They have the option of going to the president, but they have not done this so far, just like they did not do it in the past.

They also insisted on voting in secret because, it seems, most of them do not have the courage to stand up and say what they think.

These MPs chose to move against Delia on a day when the party should have been united fighting against corruption, but once again they did not come up with a solution. So what they have done so far was essentially pointless.

It has only served to sink the PN’s reputation deeper down the abyss and to reignite tensions between the different factions.

The only thing that is certain at this juncture is that the split within the PN which, we have been told again and again had magically disappeared, has now become bigger than ever.

We are truly moving towards a situation where the government will have a two-thirds majority in Parliament, with the country effectively becoming a dictatorship.

When that happens, Delia cannot say that it respected the tesserati’s choice, and his detractors cannot say that they tried their best to find a replacement but did not manage. It will be their collective fault, and the country will suffer for it.

 

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