The Malta Independent 1 March 2021, Monday

Secretary General post could remain uncontested in March PN elections

Neil Camilleri & Stephen Calleja Sunday, 21 February 2021, 09:00 Last update: about 8 days ago

‘I will see the party through until the general election’ – Zammit Dimech

The post of Nationalist Party Secretary General could remain uncontested when it goes up for grabs in a few weeks’ time, as no one has so far shown any interest in the role, The Malta Independent on Sunday has learnt.

PN sources said that an internal “brainstorming” exercise is being carried out to identify people who could be interested in contesting for the post.

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A number of individuals have been approached and asked if they would be interested to contest the post in March, when elections for many of the party’s top roles will be held.

These include MEP candidate Peter Agius and former OPM official David Herrera. Both declined to comment on ‘internal party matters’, when contacted by this newsroom.

Other names have been discussed internally, but not all of these individuals have been approached so far.

The role of Secretary General is currently held by PN stalwart Francis Zammit Dimech, who was appointed on an ‘interim’ basis after the resignation of Clyde Puli last year. The latter resigned amid the PN leadership crisis.

Peter Agius, pictured left, and David Herrera, pictured right.


Contacted by this newspaper on Friday, Zammit Dimech said he was “unaware” of the brainstorming exercise. He said, however, that he will see the Nationalist Party through to the next general election, but added that he has no ambition to hold any other official roles within the party after that.

Zammit Dimech said the PN envisages to hold a General Council from 14 to 21 March.

The General Council will be electing the members who represent it on the Executive Committee.

“This means that, after this General Council, the process to form the Executive Committee would have been completed.”

The party statute states that the next step would be to hold elections for a number of important party roles, including Secretary General, Executive Organisational Secretary, International Secretary, President of the Administrative Council and Treasurer.

“Whether an election for these posts is held depends on whether there are nominations,” Zammit Dimech explained.  

He added that there will be a vote even if only one person contests, confirming that he would be putting his name forward to be confirmed as Secretary General in such a scenario. “I am in this to see the party up till the general election.”

Asked if he would still re-contest for the post should other people throw their name in the hat, Zammit Dimech said he would “look at the scenario at that moment in time.”

“This is not about me, but about the best interests of the party,” he continued.

While the elections for these top roles are due at the end of March/beginning of April of this year, the process could be repeated in the coming months as a result of the general election.

Zammit Dimech explained that, in line with the party statute, an election win, which he says can be achieved “if we all put our heads together,” will lead to a vote to reconfirm the party leader.

An election defeat, on the other hand, would kick off the process to hold a leadership election, which the incumbent leader can contest. The election of the party’s other top posts, including that of Secretary General, would follow a few months later.

Zammit Dimech said that, whatever the outcome, he has no ambition to serve in another party role after the next general election. “This is not about me but about doing my duty towards the party. This means seeing to all that the party requires up to the election and the months immediately following the election, until that process is completed.”

Zammit Dimech served as a Member of Parliament between 1987 and 2017 and, along the year, held ministerial responsibilities including foreign affairs, communications, infrastructure, tourism, culture, and environment.

He was also a Member of the European Parlament from 2017 until 2019.

Within the Nationalist Party, he served as information secretary, and president of the Administrative Council, among other roles.

 

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