The Malta Independent 19 September 2020, Saturday

Will they be challenging Delia? PN set to issue call for applications for leadership today

Kevin Schembri Orland Tuesday, 4 August 2020, 08:39 Last update: about 3 months ago

The Nationalist Party is today set to issue its call for applications for the post of leader.

The PN’s General Council voted on Saturday for a leadership election to be held, rather than for a confirmation vote on Adrian Delia’s leadership. Delia, right after the General Council vote result was announced, declared his intention to run for the post. A number of other people have been touted as potential contenders for the leadership race, such as PN MEP Roberta Metsola, PN MP Therese Comodini Cachia, and lawyers Joe Giglio and Bernard Grech, however it is as yet unclear as to who will throw their names into the hat.

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The situation came about after Delia lost two confidence votes, one within the PN’s Parliamentary Group and the other within the PN’s Executive Committee. Delia has been facing calls to step down as he has been unable to make any headway in the polls in terms of the gap between the PN and the PL, as well as due to alleged messages between himself and Yorgen Fenech.

The Malta Independent yesterday spoke to lawyer Joe Giglio, asking him whether he intends to contest. He did not, however, give a clear answer. “At the moment we should all try to focus on how to help the party come out stronger from all of this. We need to analyse, discuss, and see what is the best way forward, whether we find a candidate who can unite and somehow overcome this difficult moment we are going though. This is what I am working on. I am sure that a solution will be found and that the PN will come out stronger.”

On Sunday, PN MEP Roberta Metsola said that she is 'considering all options' in a Facebook post. "As I said before the vote, this is not the time for personal ambitions, but the aim should be the best interest of the party and the country. This is what I will be discussing in the coming hours. From my end, I will consider all choices and I will not exclude anything. I am ready to do my part wherever it is needed. We need to discuss where we will head and from where we will start off. I want the road ahead towards a serious and credible party to include everyone through profound discussions.”

The Malta Independent contacted also, on Sunday, contacted PN MP Therese Comodini Cachia and asked her whether she will be contesting the leadership, however her answer did not affirm nor exclude the possibility. She said that "I believe that the party needs a group of people to take it forward. I am willing to continue being the catalyst to ensure that that group does take the party forward.”

Lawyer Bernard Grech at the end of July declared that he is ready to be the PN’s caretaker [‘bidillu’, as he termed it] if the people want him to be as such. He was being interviewed by Fr. Joe Borg on 103.FM prior to the General Council decision. Asked during that interview whether he would consider contesting as PN leader in the General Convention if the latter eventuality comes around, Grech had said that it is something he must consider if the party and, more so, the country call on him to take up that mantle. He said that if he is called upon, then he is ready to consider his position wherever it is needed. “I am not saying I want to be leader at all costs; I am saying that I ready to be the party’s caretaker if it is deemed to be needed”, Grech said, prior to the General Council decision. Attempts to contact Grech to get a clear answer now as to whether or not he will contest have not been successful.

PN Secretary General Francis Zammit Dimech told this newsroom that the leadership election is likely to take up to the second week of September.

In terms of procedure, after the Expression of interest for prospective candidates closes, all candidates will need to undergo a due diligence process. The next major step, after the candidates pass this stage and obtain endorsements from people within the party structures, is the election itself.

The President of the PN’s Executive Committee Alex Perici Calascione explained that if there are only two candidates the vote will go straight to the General Convention for the tesserati (paid-up members) to decide. If there are more than two candidates, the General Council will need to vote first to whittle down the number of candidates to two before the final vote being taken by the tesserati.

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