Nearly a full week after losing a vote of confidence within his parliamentary group and three days after an intense day of one-to-one meetings between Opposition MPs and the president, Adrian Delia’s future as Malta’s Opposition Leader is still unsure… and President George Vella’s silence on the matter definitely isn’t helping.
With an imminent announcement expected for days now, the PN – and the rest of the country – has been waiting for a decision by the president on whether Delia should be stripped of his consitutional role and be replaced by Therese Comodini Cachia, who was proposed by 17 MPs and two MEPs. But as of this morning, Malta enters the third day of no official statement by Vella on his final decision.
“Irrespective of the outcome, it is disgraceful on the president’s part to leave the country waiting for three days,” one ‘frustrated’ MP reportedly told Times of Malta.
Yesterday, Delia did not give his usual Sunday morning interview and did not make any public appearance, with statements from the PN camp instead coming from the 19 members of the dissenting parliamentary group.
In one of the statements, the group of Nationalist MPs and MEPs reached out to concerned tesserati (party members), insiting they have their best interests at heart.
After meeting all PN MPs througout Friday, President Vella concluded that an estimated two-thirds of them don’t have trust in Delia as Opposition Leader and recognise Comodini Cachia as the true leader. Malta’s Constitution states that the President should remove an Opposition Leader if the majority of his MPs recognise another sitting MP as their leader.
However, there are differing legal interpretations over whether the President is actually empowered to appoint that second person as Opposition leader, and the PN’s statute states that the PN leader should be Opposition leader when the party is in opposition and Prime Minister when it is in government.
Delia, who was elected PN leader in 2017, has said he intends to fulfil his mandate and lead the party into the next general election. This is an unprecedented situation in Malta’s recent political history and President Vella is expected to set constitutional case law when he makes his decision.