Monday, 10 June 2019, 12:41 Last update: about 13 hours ago
The Nationalist Party parliamentary group is set to continue meeting regularly, if necessary every day, until matters are thrashed out and the group is convinced on the message the party wants to push through, leader Adrian Delia said.
He was speaking at the end of a meeting of the parliamentary group, which started at 1.30pm but which was cut short for the MPs to go to the House of Representatives where Kevin Cutajar was sworn in as an MP.
Cutajar was approved unanimously by the executive committee last Saturday after, a week earlier, it had been Jean Pierre Debono who was given the green light. Debono however later renounced the seat after voting irregularities were noticed and the party later decided that the seat vacated by David Stellini was to be filled up by a candidate from the same electoral district, the 13th.
Addressing the media after today’s meeting, Delia said that the meeting was adjourned because Parliament was in session and Cutajar was to be sworn in.
He said that there was no issue on the leadership brought up during the meeting – there have been several calls for his resignation after the two electoral defeats suffered by the party in the European Parliament and local council elections last month – and that the discussion centred on the electoral result and how the party can move forward in a more structured and unified way.
The meeting is postponed to tomorrow Tuesday and if the discussion is not finished then they will meet every day until Delia said he is convinced all MPs will leave with certainty that everyone is convinced of the same message and how to bring that message forward.
He was asked for his reaction to a report released by MZPN, which highlights a divide-and-rule approach, a siege mentality, a sense of denial and attacks against independent media within the PN are to blame for the current state of the party
Delia said that this report was passed on to him last Saturday. He said that before reading it he had called for the President of the MZPN Joe Grech for a meeting and they will meet tomorrow, to see all there is and see what there is that is good, bad, and what can be done. He said that youths must be a strong voice that are a part of the change within the PN.
Delia again stressed that his leadership was not brought up when asked. Asked by The Malta Independent what the way forward for the party is, and whether he is going to have to make any internal changes, Delia said: “several changes, certainly. Obviously i cannot give you the conclusions before the Parliamentary Group is finalised as it has been adjourned.”
Asked what is on the table, given that he mentioned considering changes to the internal structure and positions, he said that there are certain vacant positions such as the President of the Executive and the Administrative Councils. “I also said that there needs to be a change in the structures so that the party machine would work more, be more effective and not only be there for internal elections, but create everything the party needs for it to effectively deliver its political message to the public.”
Asked about certain MPs publicly stating that they are losing their patients, and whether they remained with their mouths shut during the meeting, Delia said that he will not say what anyone said as it would breach their political collegiality and ethics. He said that everyone in the group is free to speak. “Many spoke and we will continue to speak. Again the discussion was not about me and the discussion was not even brought up.”
Asked whether there were concerns or questions raised regarding the people closest to him, he said that he will not discuss what was said in the intimacy of the Parliamentary Group.
Delia was referred to a statement he made, that he will resign if the general election results do not meet his expectations, and asked what these expectations are. He said that it is too premature to speak about general election expectations. The main milestone today, he said, is that he wants the Parliamentary Group to keep meeting until he is convinced every person is of the same mine, the same political will to achieve our objectives.”He said that it would not be wise for him to make that kind of anticipation at this stage.
None of the MPs who were approached by the media after the meeting were prepared to give comments on what was discussed. Both deputy leaders, David Agius and Robert Arrigo, said that what is discussed in the parliamentary group meeting remains within the parliamentary group.
The media was also not given any comments before the meeting started. MPs walking into the PN headquarters for the meeting all preferred not to discuss the issues that will be debated at the meeting. They all said they preferred airing their views within the party structures.
MEP David Casa was more forthcoming, saying that he hoped that the electoral results as well as leadership issues will be discussed.
Today’s meeting followed another by the party executive committee last Saturday, during which Kevin Cutajar was unanimously approved to be co-opted to Parliament instead of David Stellini, who resigned. That decision did not come without controversy, as the committee had earlier chosen Jean Pierre Debono who later renounced the post after alleged voting irregularities were pointed out.
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