Nationalist Party activists from Sliema and Bormla at the centre of a recent political storm have said Opposition leader Bernard Grech was wrong when he said they resigned and withdrew their candidatures because they never accepted him as leader.
Instead, they said their decision had to do with insults aimed against them and a lack of disciplinary action by the party.
Nine candidates for the PN’s Sliema committee – Patricia Cassar Torregiani, Carmelo Borg, Emanuel Borg, Mark Anthony Borg, Saviour Formosa, Lorry Calleja, Anthony Debono, Anthony Galea, and John Pillow -recently withdrew their candidatures after finding out they were falling victim to a coordinated block vote on the grounds that they had supported Adrian Delia in the recent PN leadership race.
In particular, a message circulated by Sliema candidate Kevin Wain described the nine candidates as ‘anti-Daphne etc’ while the PN’s official Sliema committee page called for a block vote to reward activists who were loyal to Grech from the start.
The PN’s Bormla committee – Ivan Bezina, Carmen Farrugia, Tessie Farrugia, Richard Garzia, Ingrid Mallia and Rennie Muscat – then resigned en masse in solidarity with the nine Sliema activists.
“We faced insults from a candidate pushing for a block vote which wasn’t denied by the other candidates, and a divisive and insolent post by the official Sliema committee page against us for having supported Adrian Delia in the leadership race.”
“If we cannot accept this then it would mean we’re in a dictatorial party.”
“We were insulted for calling Dr Delia our leader, something that still happens with Dr Gonzi when people call him Prime Minister even though he no longer is.”
“We were alleged to be against Daphne Caruana Galizia (RIP), without any consideration to the relationships some of us had with her.”
“We were marked out as liars and traitors and were very disappointed with the outcome of a meeting by the PN electoral commission.
“They gave us the impression that disciplinary steps were going to be taken to ensure a level playing field on election day, but all they did was send an email to all the candidates telling them not to publish divisive comments before the election, an email which left us without a remedy.”