The Nationalist Party’s media chief Pierre Portelli has issued a strong show of trust in Opposition leader Adrian Delia, insisting that there exists no better alternative than him to lead the party.
“I have worked closely with Adrian Delia this past year and a half,” Portelli said in a Facebook post this afternoon. “These were long months, in which we found it hard to keep up with him, with the enthusiasm he brought to the party and with the will to help everyone, regardless of their political colours, whether they support him and whether they will support him in the future.”
“He is always ready to help people, to the point where he sometimes even makes phone calls on the spot to help people who are standing in front of him. In fact, I have never heard him tell someone that he will instruct an assistant to follow up on their case, but rather he always wants to be the protagonist in ensuring people’s problems are solved. I have had several meetings with him in which, with the utmost humility, he didn’t try to condition the discussion so as to get his way but was ready to listen to everyone’s opinions and defend their right to press them.”
Delia is currently facing friction within the Nationalist party after his wife Nickie Vella de Fremeaux accused him of domestic violence as part of ongoing separation proceedings and after his phone was compromised, with dozens of intimate messages circulating WhatsApp. Several PN officials yesterday told Lovin Malta, on condition of anonymity, that they expect Delia to step down as leader to protect the PN from further fallout as a result of his separation.
Portelli said he won’t comment on the current situation out of respect for the privacy of Delia’s family.
“All I will do is refute the arguments being made by those who are trying to take advantage of this personal situation to give off the impression that is compromising his leadership,” he said. “While he was passing through this situation, Adrian remained vociferous and focused on important issues such as the fight against corruption, the safeguarding of life, freedom of expression, real and relative poverty, the need for a long-term plan, education and the fight against hatred.
“I have the same trust in Adrian now as I did when I first decided to support him and when I later decided that I cannot remain indifferent in my job and leave the country without an opposition that, with a new way, will tackle the culture of impunity that this government has introduced.”
“The PN isn’t only its leader, its MPs, officials, myself and our media employees, nor is it a couple of bloggers, but the PN belongs to everyone. In my mind, there is no one better than Adrian Delia to lead this party that represents all layers of society.”
PN general council President and MP Kristy Debono also urged people not to exploit Delia’s situation and “twist it according to their interests”.
“As an MP and President of the PN’s General Council, I have also been inundated with requests for my reaction,” Debono wrote. “I strongly believe that we should respect the privacy of the Leader of Opposition and his family during such a difficult situation whilst allowing the Courts time to take a decision before passing judgement on the case.”
“No one but the family has all the information, and jumping the gun and taking biased decisions is an option I will definitely not be following. Sharing extracts of leaked documents and footages is also something which I will not entertain as it is definitely not to the family’s best interests.”
“The breaking up of a marriage of a politician is definitely not the first and sadly will not be the last. The family needs their privacy to be respected in these most difficult times.”