The Malta Independent 24 October 2020, Saturday

Delia channels last three years of his party leadership in election campaign launch

Albert Galea Friday, 18 September 2020, 15:38 Last update: about 2 months ago

Adrian Delia channelled the last three years of his PN leadership, listing the achievements that he said had been made in the period since he took over the party in the launch of his leadership election campaign on Friday.

Speaking at the PN’s headquarters at the launch of his electoral campaign, Delia gave a summary of what had been achieved three years into his five-year programme since taking over as party leader in 2017.

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Delia kicked his campaign off on the same afternoon as when his nomination for the PN leadership was accepted.

Firstly, Delia focused on the financial situation of the PN – one which especially in 2017 was known to be dire.

He said that when he took on the post of leader, one of the biggest subjects of debate was the PN’s kazini – with the possibility being that these be sold to cover for the party’s mounting debts.  Delia said that since then, the annual income from the kazini had gone from 19,000 to almost 250,000 this year. Continuing this programme, Delia said that the aim was for this income to increase to 400,000 per year.

Turning to the party’s media house, Delia said that the party had gone from subsidising 1.5 million to it in a year, to a subsidy of 440,000 this year and to a predicted break-even situation next year.

He also noted that the party’s membership base had gone from around 19,000 people eligible to vote in 2017 to 25,990 eligible to vote in this year’s election.  He said that the target for the next two years is to reach the tally of 30,000 members which, he said, would make the PN the biggest political party on the island.

Moving onto the party’s political work, Delia referred to the system of clusters recently set-up, where 14 different so-called clusters were created in order to delve into specific topics.  He said that in the coming weeks, he would double the number of people involved in these clusters.

He noted that the party needs to move away from “tribal politics”, especially when it comes to social media.  He said that the party needs an educative structure for all party members on how to behave on social media.

“Stop getting your message across by attacking others”, he said.

As a small message in this regard, Delia said that he had spoken to the party’s administration so that disciplinary proceedings opened against the party’s youth branch, the MZPN, for violating a party-imposed order of silence can be stopped.

Delia made mention of the party’s new statute, noting in particular the creation of two important roles: the President for Social Dialogue and the President for Political Research. He also said that all new PN electoral candidates must go through the same process of due diligence that he and his counterpart Bernard Grech had gone through, and must be committed to meeting people in the streets for the whole of a legislature, not just before the election.

Turning to the party’s political priorities, Delia said that the party had made concrete proposals in the Covid-19 period for the improvement of people’s lives.  The government had taken many of them onboard, he noted.

Furthermore, Delia said that the PN had proposed a new economic model, been involved in drafting changes for the constitution, declared a climate emergency, pushed for cheaper utility bills, agreed to mechanisms for equal representation of women in parliament – where Delia said the government is dragging its feet – and fought against corruption.

Touching on the last subject, Delia said that the last six to seven years had been unprecedented, and the ties between politicians and criminals had been systematic – mentioning the Vitals Global Healthcare concession and the Electrogas power station as two examples of this.

He said that every contract in which former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, his long-time Chief of Staff Keith Schembri, and former Minister Konrad Mizzi had even so much as touched should be investigated and if need be cancelled to the point that the money “stolen from the Maltese and Gozitan people” is brought back.

Delia said that this is what the party had done in three years, and that he looks forward to seeing out the rest of his plan while continuing to draw his politics towards the people.

Pointed out by The Malta Independent that he had mentioned the achievements of the past three years of his leadership, when his own parliamentary group, executive, and councillors had effectively given that work the thumbs down and asked how, if elected, he would change his approach, Delia said that his working programme is a five-year one, of which the last three years were a part of.

He said that his comfort is that even if he loses, he will remain ready to work for the party in whatever role is required.

“I believe that our MPs should have the same attitude and behaviour”, he said

“Those that do not have that attitude, then it’s not a matter of how I will work, but a matter of them choosing between wanting to work or not.  The party certainly cannot wait for anything in the next two years”, he said.

Delia disagrees that due diligence process was a ‘farce’, says that he will publish all documents

Delia fielded a number of questions on the conclusions of the PN’s due diligence report into him and his contender Grech.

Asked by The Malta Independent whether the doubts and uncertainties on a number of scandals such as his possible ties with alleged Daphne Caruana Galizia murder mastermind Yorgen Fenech, and a bank account in New Jersey could be damaging to the party if he prevails in the election, Delia said that if a politician is found doing something illegal or incorrect, he should resign immediately.

“My personal comfort is that this can never happen in my case, because none of this ever happened”, he said. The political repercussions of anything ‘illegal, abusive, or ilicit’ should be resignation, he said.

Answering other questions, Delia said that he would present all the documents related to him, including those related to his tax situation, which the due diligence had not shared in public, and said that anybody who had alleged that he did not want to publish the due diligence report is “lying.”

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