PN Leader Adrian Delia received a standing ovation during his opening speech at the PN’s general council, where he faces a vote of confidence.
Councillors today are voting to determine whether he should stay on as party leader until at lest the next general election. The council was opened by president Kristy Debono, with TV cameras showing that there were very few MPs present in the audience.
Councillors now have until 6pm to cast their vote, with the result expected to be announced at 8pm, according to Electoral Commission president Francis Zammit Dimech.
Delia started his address this morning saying that he went through his archives. In his folder, he said, he found a speech he had made over 33 years ago, when addressing the council as an MZPN Birkirkara representative at the time.
“I was born in the PN, grew up in the PN, worked for the PN, am leading the PN and will continue giving all my energy to the PN until the end of my days,” Delia said. He said that this is contrary to what his detractors say, that he cfame out of nowhere to lead the party two years ago.
He thanked those who helped him call the general council. He said that he truly believes in democracy and allowing the party to debate an issue – in this case his leadership – before deciding on the way forward.
He spoke of always listening to people with opposing views, and said democracy demands debate and dialogue. “When you take a decision, and when the people decide, then we must move forward united together.”
He said that past four weeks were some of the best in his political life, as it helped him discover the patrimony of the PN. He said he spoke to hundreds of councillors. He said that through meeting them, he found the soul of the PN, people who love their country and believe in the party.
He said that everyone came to say their part, and gave their advice and counsel. He listened to young councillors, as well as those who have been in the party for a long time. He said there was a lot of genuine pain, and promised to keep speaking with anyone who wants to speak with him.
“One councillor pleaded with me to keep the PN united,” he said, adding that this is one of the things that he wants to put before the councillors today. “Next year the PN will celebrate its 140-year anniversary, and there are some who do not want to see the party celebrate that.”
He said there are people who want to break the party, but the PN doesn’t only have a heart, but a soul. He said that today is not a day to say yes or no for Delia, but yes for the PN and yes to remove division, yes to stop disseminating hatred.
He spoke about those who targeted his family he said that he will not give up, will not be afraid or be intimidated.
“I don’t want to make long political speeches, as today’s aim is that I want you to reflect on. To reflect on whether next year you want the party to be 140 years old, or 140 years young. We are ready to make all the necessary changes in the PN’s culture. in the party’s mentality, in the party structures and the way we present ourselves as a party, but we will never compromise our principles and morals. A democratic Christian party we were and will remain.”
Ivan Bartolo, who spoke earlier and was one of the councillors who brought the petition to remove Delia forward, was seen joining the standing ovation given to the leader.
“There are those who want to bring the PN in an extremist light that does not represent who we are,” Delia said.
“We need to look forward, not with fear but with courage. “
“From tomorrow, we are already planning a wide consultation process for the PN to, more than ever before, we will not remain the party of the few, but become the party of the many, not remain a closed party, but open up more than before. When our tesserati backed someone from outside politics, they knew what they were doing. They wanted to bring the party back to the people. The PN is not the leader, not the councillors or the tesserati only, but is made up of all the Maltese of good will, who love their country and understand that there is only one party, one instrument that can bring good again. That party is called the PN. One PN, united, determined, and that knows where it wants to go,” he said to a standing ovation.
“Let us debate and reform but let us remain one party, let us remain the party of the people, let us remain the PN we remember and let us celebrate next year together.”