Doriana Portelli, one of the PN’s two Birżebbuġa councillors, has quit the party as a sign of protest at the way Adrian Delia was treated by people within the party throughout his tenure as leader.
She will stay on as an independent councillor, reducing the PN to a single seat in the southern town’s district, compared with the Labour Party’s seven.
“This isn’t about Adrian Delia as an individual but about the principles of democracy and human values,” Portelli, who is also an actress, told Lovin Malta. “What happened to Adrian Delia was inhumane… all those malicious manoeuvres, all those lies, the way his personal life was targeted, and the way he was stabbed in the back.”
“We’ve always hailed the PN as being a democratic party but what happened to Adrian Delia over the years was anything but democratic.”
Portelli rose to prominence in the PN in 2017 when she presented a video about the Panama Papers scandal which portrayed the major players as cards in a game of poker.
“If I was an opportunist, I wouldn’t have made that video because I received so many threats to my life as a result of it. However, I would do it again if I had the chance.”
Indeed, she said she has no intention of switching her allegiance to the Labour Party, arguing that such a move would be inconsistent with her principles.
“Some might say I’m stamping my feet but that’s not the case. I supported Delia in his leadership campaign three years ago but I was ready to support Chris Said if he had won. This isn’t because my favourite candidate has lost but because I believe in my principles and the party doesn’t pertain to them.”
Portelli said she has nothing against Grech personally and would have been open to him as leader had he contested after the next general election, when Delia’s mandate would have expired.
“However, in my eyes, Bernard Grech is now the person who the 17 traitor MPs decided to put in charge. He humiliated the previous leader and I cannot support him.”
And although Delia has pledged his loyalty to Grech, Portelli said she cannot do likewise.
“I messaged Delia this morning and told him it saddens me to know I’m disappointing him but that we must all take decisions we feel are right. I wouldn’t feel good working for a party that I don’t belong to anymore.”
Grech beat out former PN leader Adrian Delia last night in an election determined by the party’s paid-up members, winning with a comfortable margin of 69%.