The Malta Independent 8 August 2020, Saturday

TMIS Editorial: August is make or break time for the PN

Sunday, 26 July 2020, 11:15 Last update: about 13 days ago

The Nationalist Party finds itself at very important crossroads.

During yet another fiery meeting of the PN executive this week, an agreement was reached for the General Council to decide whether the tesserati, in a general convention, should hold a vote of confidence in Adrian Delia, or whether there should be a new leadership election, one which Delia would contest.

It has been a long and winding road that brought the party to this state. But now, an important decision must be taken.

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Whatever choice the General Council makes, the outcome must be respected by all.

If a confidence vote is held and Delia loses, he must immediately back out. The embattled party leader has been pinning his hopes on the support of the party’s paid up members, who elected him in 2017, but if the same people now show that they no longer believe in him, he will have to respect the vote and resign.

This newsroom last week asked Delia whether he believes he still has the support of the tesserati, and he said he does. We are not so sure, but that question can only be answered through a vote.

On the other hand, if Delia were to win such a vote, those who are opposing him would also need to back down and respect the wishes of the party members. The question then would be: should they resign from the party? Will an apology be enough? Probably not, and we can say beyond any doubt that some of the dissenting MPs would try to oust Delia again at the first opportunity.

The party cannot go on like this. A democratic vote will be held, not among the handpicked members of the party organs, but in a forum that represents a wider number of party supporters. And democracy requires that an election result is respected.

The same can be said for a leadership election. If the General Council goes for this option, Delia will have every right to re-contest for the party leadership. So will others. If he loses, he would have to go. If he wins, his detractors will have to accept the result.

The Nationalist Party has taken too many hits, its credibility has sunk too low. But the situation is not completely beyond repair. Well, this depends on how the two factions will behave after the confidence vote or leadership election takes place.

Everyone will need to ‘man up’ and accept victory or defeat, depending on which side they are on.

But, in order for the party to revive itself and move forward, with some hope of someday becoming a credible opposition, other individuals should contest the leadership election – individuals who are not associated with any of the two camps, and who would be able to unite the party.

This is no easy task. This argument has been made before every leadership election, and yet, that right person is never found. This time round, there are three or four individuals who have been urged to contest for the party leadership – individuals who are level-headed and neither here nor there when it comes to the two factions.

Whatever happens in August, one side will feel emboldened and the other will feel defeated. This is precisely why the party should have a leader who is not associated with any of them. There can never be true healing within the PN unless it is led by someone who can unite and bring the two sides to forgive, forget and move forward together.

This is the only hope for us to have a real opposition that can stand up to Government corruption and not be bogged down by its internal battles.

We suspect that more scandals will emerge in the coming months, and the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder case will be reaching a very delicate juncture.

In view of this, it is imperative that the country has an effective and united opposition by the end of the year – by the end of summer, if possible. The country deserves better.

August will mean crunch time for the PN. It will be the month that makes or breaks it. And it cannot afford to take another wrong step. 

 

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