Delia ‘must step down’ or be fired after domestic violence claims

Better days… Nickie Vella de Fremaux and Adrian Delia during the leadership election.

Updated 6.40pm

Calls grew on Adrian Delia to step down at once as Nationalist Party leader following claims of domestic violence in marital separation proceedings.

“Adrian Delia is not fit for his constitutional role as Leader of the Opposition and therefore must resign now. If he doesn’t, his party must see to it that he is fired,” Occupy Justice said in a statement.

Democratic Party leader Godfrey Farrugia and former PN general secretary Rosette Thake also urged Dr Delia to make an exit. 

The couple’s separation was made public two months ago, but leaks of documents detailing the alleged spat between Dr Delia and his wife Nickie Vella De Fremeaux have just emerged.

In one paragraph, Dr Vella de Fremeaux alleges that her husband had been violent and abusive towards a number of his five children, who had also “witnessed their father beating their mother”.

A court on Thursday granted Dr Delia limited access to his children, allowing him to visit them three times a week at his in-laws’ house and ordering him to pay €2,750 a month in alimony. 

In a statement issued at 4.25pm, Dr Delia said that he would be respecting the court’s request to refrain from commenting publicly on his separation proceedings. 

He however added that he would “in no way be giving in to malicious attempts to turn this private affair into a political one”. 

Adrian Delia celebrating his leadership victory with his wife just last year. Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaAdrian Delia celebrating his leadership victory with his wife just last year. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

The pressure group reaction comes hours after former PN candidate Jonathan Shaw wrote on Facebook that the issue is no longer a private matter: “This is a prime example where we need to walk the talk and stand up against what is morally and intrinsically wrong. Domestic violence on women and children is a serious matter. More so, if you are in public office, as long as these allegations still stand, one has to resign. And if you don’t resign, then it’s up to the party to force a motion to make this happen. This goes beyond politics. This is about integrity, principles and morals.”

Occupy Justice added: “Domestic violence is a massive human rights issue plaguing our society and it is therefore not a private matter but a very public one. Malta’s leaders must be at the forefront to fight domestic violence perpetrators.”

This call follows Occupy Justice’s call a few weeks ago for Dr Delia to step down following corruption allegations, which he denies. 

In a Facebook post, PD leader Godfrey Farrugia wrote that Dr Delia should have quit his role as Opposition leader “a long time ago”. 

“We’ve now reached rock bottom,” Dr Farrugia wrote. “I once again urge you to step aside for the good of the people and of Malta”. 

His partner and fellow PD MP Marlene Farrugia echoed those calls, saying Dr Delia’s position was now “completely and irreversibly untenable” and offering to give up her seat in parliament if he were to be replaced by a unifying figure who was not an MP. 

In a tweet, former PN general secretary Rosette Thake indirectly urged Dr Delia to step down.

MEP and former Labour Party leader Alfred Sant, on the other hand, expressed disgust at the way Dr Delia’s private affairs hand ended up in the public realm. 

“The indecency of all those who are abusing of this delicate matter, which is currently before the courts, shows that they are not seeking justice but rather settling scores which are perhaps political but certainly dirty and personal,” Dr Sant wrote. 

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