The Malta Independent 9 August 2020, Sunday

Constitutional experts tell rebel PN MPs that President must remove Delia from Opposition leader

Friday, 10 July 2020, 18:40 Last update: about 30 days ago

Three constitutional experts have told the rebel PN parliamentary group members that President George Vella has a constitutional obligation to remove Adrian Delia from the post of Opposition leader, given his loss of support.

Former European Court of Human Rights Judge Giovanni Bonello, Professor Kevin Aquilina, and Dr. Austin Bencini all confirmed that the constitution obliges the President of the Republic to remove the Opposition leader in the case that he or she has lost the support of the majority of the members of the Opposition.

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On Tuesday evening, Delia lost a vote of confidence within his parliamentary group, with 19 members – 17 MPs and 2 MEPs – voting against him and 11 voting in his favour. After Delia refused to step down, the dissenting group has kick-started the process with the President for Delia’s removal as Opposition leader – not party leader – and for Therese Comodini Cachia to be appointed in his stead.

In a statement, the 19 members said that according to Bonello, Bencini, and Aquilina, the President should in this case move to appointing the MP in the PN’s parliamentary group which holds the support of the group’s majority as Opposition leader.

Copies of the advice received from the three experts were presented to the President on Friday afternoon at San Anton Palace.

The President has continued to meet the PN MPs – including Comodini Cachia herself – throughout the day.  He met Delia on Thursday, after which Delia released a statement reaffirming that he will not step down.

The 19 PN parliamentary group members appealed to Delia and to those who have an interest in Delia remaining Opposition leader to stop sowing the seeds of doubt on what the Constitution says

“The Constitution is supreme, and everyone is obliged to observe it.”

The statement follows another issued on Friday afternoon by the rebel group, where they called for Delia to step down for the good of both the party and the country, and listed reasons as to why he should vacate his post.

The full advice can be viewed below:

Judge Giovanni Bonello

Professor Kevin Aquilina

Dr. Austin Bencini

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