PN Leader Adrian Delia has called for an extraordinary general council to be held on 27 July. A vote of confidence in the PN leader, as requested in a petition signed by 200 councillors, will also be held on the day.
The process will be chaired by Francis Zammit Dimech.
In a statement, the party said the original request had been made under article 27 of the party statute but, seeing that a number of signatures on the petition were invalid, Delia had himself called for a general council to be held under article 30. The PN said Delia made the call so that the party can “move forward.”
The decision was taken during a “civil” meeting of the PN’s executive committee on Thursday evening, which also included an election for two of the party’s top roles.
Carm Mifsud Bonnici was elected president of the PN’s administrative council while leadership candidate Alex Perici Calascione was elected president of the executive council. Shortly before the meeting started, two other official withdrew their nominations.
It was also announced that PN veteran Louis Galea will be leading a party reform. The proposal, made by Adrian Delia, received unanimous approval by the executive committee members. It formed part of a 10-point plan presented by Delia to MPs some days ago. Galea has a year to present a report on the reform.
Delia non-committal on vote result
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Delia did not commit on whether he would resign if he were to lose the vote of confidence, saying that he will make a decision, in the “best interest of the party” after seeing what the outcome will be.
Delia acknowledged that he had previously refused to call a vote of confidence, but said he had changed his mind after listening and consulting during tonight’s and recent meetings. “This is about the party, not Adrian Delia.”
But when pressed about the possibility that he loses the confidence vote, Delia pointed out that, according to the party statute, it is the tesserati (members) who have the power to appoint and remove a party leader.
He said he had held meetings with all PN forums. Now it is the turn of the general council. “We will listen to the discussion there, without impinging on the rights of the party members. There are three petitions. The general council is the party’s highest organ and I am sure that it will take the best decisions in the interest of the party.”
Pressed to say what happens if he loses the vote, Delia was non-committal, saying he would decide after the vote and “in the best interest of the party.”
On 25 June, a group of five people, including former PN candidate Ivan Bartolo, presented a 200-signature petition calling on PN General Council president Kristy Debono to convene the general council and to hold a vote where councillors would be asked whether Delia should shoulder responsibility for the PN’s recent electoral defeat.
Delia has been facing calls to resign ever since the party was crushed at the European Parliament and local council elections.
The PN has been facing turbulent times, with the situation becoming worse after a co-option vote to fill the seat vacated by David Stellini. That process, which some said was vitiated, led to the resignation of Mark Anthony Sammut from president of the executive committee and also of David Camilleri from the post of party treasurer.
New administrative, executive committee presidents
Carm Mifsud Bonnici beat Graham Bencini to become president of the administrative council, a role previously held by Stellini. The PN said Mifsud Bonnici obtained 46 votes against Bencini’s 31.
Alex Perici Calascione and Graziella Attard Previ had submitted their name for the post of president of the executive, but the latter withdrew her nomination at the start of yesterday’s meeting. Attard Previ said she was withdrawing in the name of unity in the party.
Charles Selvaggi was the only one contesting for the post of party treasurer but also withdrew his nomination for “personal reasons,” saying he would still stay on as minority leader in the Msida local council and president of the PN’s College of Councillors. He said he would back whoever takes up the role of party treasurer.
The party said the post will be filled in the near future after another call for nominations.
Both Perici Calascione and Mifsud Bonnici thanked Adrian Delia and those who had supported them, the party said.
Delia thanked Attard Previ who, he said, had shown great political maturity.
Thanking the other candidates, Delia said the executive committee had shown that there was strength in unity.
Former media chairman’s comments
MPs and executive committee members did not give any comments as they walked into the meeting yesterday. The only person to give comments was former PN media chairman Pierre Portelli, who said he agreed that action should be taken against those who were working against Adrian Delia. “I signed the petition for this to happen,” he said.
When asked what type of action should be taken, Portelli commented that there are structures in place and if the petition is approved, measures on what should be done will be decided.
He, however, remained mum when asked who the MPs and party officials are.
The executive committee also debated a letter, sent in earlier this week by former MEP candidate Dione Borg, who made a number of recommendations on how the party can solve its internal issues.
Videos: Alenka Falzon