A petition calling on the PN’s General Council to hold a vote of confidence on Adrian Delia is being presented to the party this evening.
Speaking to journalists before delivering the document, PN executive committee member Ivan Bartolo said the petition had been signed by over 200 councillors in the space of two days.
Asked if any MPs had signed it, Bartolo said that none had, and this was done on purpose, so that the petition would be signed by the party grassroots.
Flanked by former executive committee president Mark Anthony Sammut and other councillors, Bartolo said: “We are doing this because we want to protect the party and our democracy. We are convinced that the party needs to start a new page with a strong leadership so that we become a strong party and a strong opposition. This is in the best interest of the country.”
The petition calls on PN General Council President Kristy Debono to hold a vote in which councillors are asked to say whether Delia should shoulder responsibility for the PN’s heavy electoral defeat.
Bartolo recently said he was the first to sign. “We do not belong to one group or the other. This is not an issue of cliques but that Malta needs us all to rise up and protect our democracy,” he told journalists on Tuesday. “No one is bigger than the country and the party. We took this initiative, calling on the general council to convene within a week.”
“In these exceptional circumstances we cannot sweep everything under the carpet. The situation is of danger not only to the party but also to the country, he said, adding that the country risked becoming a one-party state. Unfortunately, the current leadership has burned bridges with wide sections of the electorate without which the party cannot win an election.”
Asked what the next step would be if the general council is not convened, Bartolo said: “The party statute is clear. If the general council does not convene then there is no democracy here either.”
Mark Anthony Sammut said the statute was clear in that every proposal signed by more than 150 members has to be considered. “We are not here to elect a new leader but so that the general council expresses itself on whether it has confidence on the leadership.”
Asked who he believed should be the new leader of the party, Bartolo said he had a personal opinion but he was not there to express it.
“A year ago I decided that I wanted nothing more to do with politics but now I am seeing things differently because I cannot tolerate what is happening around me, the status quo,” he added.
Asked about another petition that is being signed in a bid to stop a vote of confidence, Bartolo said these people had every right to do so.
Sammut clarified, however, that they cannot stop the general council from meeting to discuss the first petition.