Ivan Bartolo may be the odds-on favourite to succeed Marthese Portelli as a PN MP but he remains unsure whether or not to contest an upcoming casual election.
Bartolo told Lovin Malta that he has been considering this move since Portelli’s resignation last week and that he will make his final decision by tomorrow.
“People voted for me and contesting the casual election will be a way of showing them respect and thanking them,” Bartolo, a businessman, said. “The party and the country also need support and, while I have no illusions that I can change them by myself, if I can contribute then I will.”
On the other hand, he warned becoming a politically exposed person will cause considerable disruptions in his everyday life and will mean he will probably have to resign his directorship on a number of boards, and this in the middle of Parliament’s planned legislature.
“It’s not an easy decision but it’s also about serving and being mature about it,’ he said.
After the PN’s record defeat at the 2019 MEP and local council elections, Bartolo spearheaded a movement which called for PN leader Adrian Delia to face a confidence vote at the PN General Council, a vote Delia ended up winning comfortably.
Asked whether he will be ready to work with Delia if he does decide to contest the casual election, Bartolo recounted how he himself had said ahead of the confidence vote that were the PN leader to emerge victorious, his critics should either support him or back off.
“The gentleman is there, he’s been very perseverant and resilient, and at this moment in time its not about one person,” he said. “I had done what I did [spearhead the confidence vote] and I have no intentions of doing it all over again.”
Bartolo had received 1,204 first-count votes on the ninth district at the 2017 general election, making him the favourite to succeed Portelli if he decides to contest the casual election. So far, only Sliema vice-mayor Graziella Attard Previ and Charles Selvaggi have put their names forward, with the deadline on Saturday and the casual election on Tuesday.
Another casual election, in the twelfth district, will take place on Tuesday for the seat vacated by former PN leader Simon Busuttil. David Thake and Sam Abela have submitted their nominations so far.