The co-option of Jean Pierre Debono to the parliamentary seat left by David Stellini has been postponed, MaltaToday reports, after former PN executive president Mark Anthony Sammut blasted the voting process.
Sammut, who resigned on Saturday when the executive met to decide who would be co-opted to the parliamentary seat vacated by David Stellini, has said that the result of the vote which saw Jean Pierre Debono chosen over Kevin Cutajar for the vacant was “vitiated” and “stolen deceitfully” from the Gozitans due to certain members being allowed the right to vote despite not being eligible to do so.
Sammut said on Facebook that even though he was the President of the Executive, he had no direct access to data on member attendance. This responsibility, he said, was always exclusively of Jean Pierre Debono, first as Assistant Secretary General and then as Political Coordinator.
He said that he had been informed of the meeting on Thursday and the list of eligible voters has been passed onto him exactly before voting opened.
After the meeting, it was brought to Sammut’s attention, he said, that there could have been members who did not have the right to vote but voted anyway. Due to this, he said, he used the last 24 hours to compile a list of members who should have the right to vote and where that right came from.
He concluded that David Stellini, who voted, in fact had lost his right to vote after his resignation from MP and that David Camilleri as treasurer had the right to attend executive meetings but not vote. Despite this, Camilleri was listed by the party’s secretary amongst the list of eligible voters.
“Only one person could have added him to the list, and the conflict of interest of that person is clear”, Sammut said.
The result of the vote is therefore vitiated. “it seems like not only was the parliamentary seat stolen from Gozo, it was stolen deceitfully”, he said.
“This once again confirms that yesterday I made the right decision to not be part of this type of leadership anymore, and I repeat my appeal for those officials to shoulder political responsibility and resign”, Sammut said.
Debono fires back; ‘Mark Anthony Sammut is the deceptive one’
Jean Pierre Debono fired back at Sammut on his own Facebook page, saying that it was Sammut who was the deceptive one in the matter, not him.
Debono argued that it was Sammut who was responsible for the list of eligible voters during Saturday’s executive meeting, so much so that it was Sammut himself who had called the names of people to vote one-by-one.
“He knows he asked me for the list… and I told him I had nothing to do with the list or the election, since I was going to be directly involved in it. Mark Anthony Sammut knows that he did not get the list from me and that I did not compile it.”
‘They wanted to steal Cutajar’s seat through fraud’ – Jason Azzopardi
Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi meanwhile also waded into the debate, posting a screenshot of the Microsoft Excel properties data for the voting list created by Debono, accusing him of stealing Cutajar’s seat through fraud.
“Do they really have the courage to say that nobody is bigger than the party? Have they any shame in speaking of the ‘establishment’? OUT”, Azzopardi wrote before adding the hashtag #dawnmhuxnazzjonalisti (these are not nationalists).
Azzopardi has been one of Adrian Delia’s most vocal critics over the past months.
Sammut himself has since shared the above image, noting ironically that Debono had said that he was lying and that he had nothing to do with the list.
These statements come after the PN’s Gozo Regional Committee sent a letter to the party’s leader, secretary general and deputy leaders contesting the decision to co-opt Debono, saying that it was in breach of the party’s statute and the Constitution.
Replying on Facebook, Stellini said that he retained the role of president of the administrative council until an election for his replacement is held.
He said he returned from Brussels on purpose for Saturday’s meeting to make sure that Gozo’s vote in the executive council is not lost.
Debono was chosen over Cutajar to take Stellini’s vacated votes by 42 votes to 40.
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