Jean Pierre Debono has renounced to being co-opted to Parliament in spite of winning a vote taken by the Nationalist Party executive committee last Saturday.
In a letter he sent to the party leader, Debono said it is clear that the same people who did not acvcept the democratic election of Delia as party leader are now on a campaign to “attack me” because “I had given up my parliamentary seat for you (Delia) to be appointed Opposition Leader.”
Debono said that he and Kevin Cutajar, who were vying to replace David Stellini in Parliament after the latter’s resignation, had in their possession the same list of voters who were to take part in last Saturday’s election within the party’s executive committee, and niether had objected to any of the names.
Since the vote was taken, questions have been raised on the people who voted in Saturday’s election, including Stellini’s own vote, given that he had resigned as an MP. But Stellini still retained the seat of president of the administrative council, which Stellioni said gave him the right to vote.
One other name which was also mentioned as allegedly not having the right to vote was David Camilleri, the party treasurer. Debono, in his letter, said that the executive committee president never received a notification for his name to be removed.
Debono also said that until 30 May when the list of voters was issued, Stellini was still an MP, as his resignation from the post became valid on 31 May. “It is therefore a lie that I somehow modified the list of voters,” Debono contended.
On the day of the election for the co-option, there were no objections to members who had the right to vote, Debono said.
The president of the executive committee, Mark Anthony Sammut, led the election by calling each and every voter’s name, Debono said.
“I had absolutely nothing to do with the election process for obvious reasons and took no decision about it,” he said.
“It is a fabrication and absiolute lie that you and I at any stage reached a verbal or written agreement for candidates of the seventh district not to contest any election for a co-option. Anyone could have contested for this co-option exercise. Contrary to allegations made, the salary I receive from the PN does not include a compentation for having renounced to my seat in Parliament in favour of Adrian Delia’s co-option as Opposition Leader,” Debono said.
“These lies are fabrications by a person who should know better and should have never allowed district rivalry to lead to allegations which are serious and libellous,” he said.
It is clear, he added, that the same group of people who did not accept the democratic result of Delia’s election to party leader are now “attacking me” because “”I had given up my parliamentary seat for you (Delia) to be appointed Opposition Leader.”
“I do not want these people to continue destroying the party and trying to undermine the credibility of the party and yours (Delia’s) and by taking advantage of the my co-option”, Debono said.
Debono said that as he has done in the past 21 years, he is ready to remain of service to the party. It is imperative that whoever is of goodwill comes forward for the PN to really be an effective opposition and alternative government. The party must also rid itself of elements who endorse “politics of jealousy, of power at all costs and of hatred”.
Debono added that it is clear that the PN is no longer recognisable because of these elements and in the light of this it is hard to have the courage to work long nights, “as I have done without pay for long months when the party was in dire financial straits”. In spite of this, although it is difficult, “I will remain at your service wherever you think I can give a contribution”.
But, since it is evident that this is another attempt, by the same people, to attack the party, “I do not want to be a participant and allow that something that was carried out in a democratic way be used to further divide the party”.
With this in mind, “I will not be taking the parliamentary seat”, Debono said, thanking all the constituents who voted for him in the 2017 election and the executive committee members who chose him last Saturday.
Speaking on Net FM in the evening, Debono said the PN cannot afford to be caught up in a controversy over a co-option and get lost in social media arguments.
“In 2017 I gave a strong signal that I am not attracted to power and, out of my own free will, I gave up my seat for Adrian Delia.”
He said last week he acted on behalf of the voters of the 7th district when he contested for Stellini’s seat but, given the “unnecessary” controversy, he had once again decided to give up his seat.
“The party now has to see how to proceed in this issue. I took the best decision for stability in the aprty. Let us work together to be an effective opposition and an alternative government.”
Debono said that, in his letter, he had also criticised certain factions. “We cannot afford circumstances where a few individuals put their personal glory before the interests of the party and the country. In the party there is space for all people of goodwill,” he said.
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