Adrian Delia has defied internal calls to resign as PN leader, stating that he will remain in charge so long as he enjoys the trust of party members who had elected him in the first place.
“I’m not afraid that someone could take my place,” Delia said when interviewed on Xarabank. “The moment the people who elected me decide my service is no longer needed will be the moment I step down. I have no regrets and I’ll keep working to the best of my abilities.”
Delia played down concerns that the President of the Republic could intervene to remove him as Opposition leader on the grounds that he doesn’t enjoy the trust of the majority of his MPs.
“The law says that the Opposition leader is the person who enjoys the trust of the majority of Opposition MPs. It’s not enough not to want someone as leader but you must want someone too, and I don’t know who that person is if not myself.”
“Are you suggesting that the parliamentary group should have an Opposition leader who is a different person from the person voted in by party members? That would seriously damage the PN…not because it’s Adrian Delia, it could be anyone, but it will create a precedent.”
“I will be very worried if even one MP thinks that the Opposition leader should be a different person than the PN leader.”
He said he won’t allow any person or group of people to “seize the PN as the Labour Party was seized by a group of criminals”.
“I’m not making comparisons here but I won’t allow anyone, and they could be the most valid people in the world, to decide that they can choose the leader and reject him if they don’t like him. I won’t tolerate it and if I do, I will create a very dangerous precedent.”
The PN leader pledged to implement structural changes proposed by former minister Louis Galea by the end of March but played down Galea’s calls for a change in leadership.
“Louis Galea isn’t there to choose names but to propose changes. We aren’t a dictatorship but a party that endorses democracy and which wants to decentralise power. We did that in government with the introduction of local councils and we believe that no single person is wiser than the collective wisdom of the people.
Moreover, he argued that the greatest change that must take place within the PN concerns the attitude of its politicians.
“Our greatest challenge is for the PN to no longer be controlled by a few people who think they have some divine right [to power] but to return the party to the people. In the past, there was a general understanding that the PN belonged to businesses but Eddie Fenech Adami turned it into a party of the people. The PN’s raison d’être is to represent as many people as possible. I was elected to return the PN to the people and I will do whatever it takes.”
The PN leader urged everyone who represents the party to turn their focus to meeting and speaking to people and convincing them that a change of government is needed.
“Let’s go to people, feel their pains and offer solutions. We must criticise but offer solutions, such as better pensions and guarantees that everyone has a roof over their heads. Beyond the leadership and strategies, if we manage to convince people that they’ll live better lives under a PN government, we’ll start to see some progress.”