As the Nationalist Party grapples over the fate of leader Adrian Delia, the party’s youth activists are in a struggle of their own.
While the MŻPN, the PN’s traditional youth wing, has placed the blame for last month’s electoral thrashing directly at the feet of Delia’s leadership, the newer branch Team Start has stuck its neck out for the leadership.
Team Start was set up by the PN last year specifically for youths younger than 18 in line with Malta’s reduction of the national voting age to 16.
The stated logic behind establishing an entirely new branch was that 16-18 year olds would be better catered for by people in their age bracket than by the MŻPN, which accepts people up to 30 years old.
However, internal critics have repeatedly warned there was something more nefarious at play and that Team Start was only established to give Delia a friendly youth branch, which would also be allowed to vote at the executive committee.
“The creation of a second and separate branch within the party, albeit filled with talented and active youths, resulted in separating our younger audience into two groups this not only resulted in creating unnecessary competition but also in creating animosity between the party’s youth members,” MŻPN said in its post-election report.
Now PN supporters younger than 18, and who should therefore form part of Team Start, have taken to Facebook to declare their support for MŻPN through the hashtag #ISupportMŻPN.
“I would like to start by saying that I am neither ‘blue’ nor ‘red’,” Mark Pace said. “I believe that the people who lead and decide for the country should not be chosen due to traditions passed on by people who follow a party blindly but be chosen by taking into consideration the current state of the country and the betterment of the country.”
“However, I do believe that currently we as Maltese citizens do not have a choice in choosing the leaders of our country as one party is clearly much stronger. That is why I have chosen to stand beside MŻPN who promise a stronger opposition which will challenge the current governing party which will be beneficial in regards to building a strong and stable future for the Maltese Islands.”