Several members of Moviment Żgħażagh Partit Nazzjonalista, the youth wing of the Nationalist Party, will not be seeking re-election this November, Lovin Malta has been informed.
Party sources told Lovin Malta that the word around town is that a number of their executive members will be replaced by current members of Team Start, the PN wing for 14-18 year olds that was set up last year.
They said they were quitting MŻPN after growing disillusioned at the direction the party has taken under PN leader Adrian Delia and secretary general Clyde Puli.
“Things will remain the same and will not change. That siege mentality and attitude of ‘we know everything’ that is employed by Puli and Delia is not going anywhere – so we’re out.”
One also warned that the powers-that-be at Dar Ċentrali want to overhaul the current MŻPN because they refused to be yes-men.
“MŻPN members have tried to make their voices heard internally and propose new ways forward for the party, only to be sidelined by those running the show on the second and third floors of Dar Ċentrali.”
“This is why come November 2019 when all internal elections are held within the PN – including Clyde Puli’s supposed confirmation as Secretary-General, we won’t be seeking re-election.”
A mass exodus within MŻPN would surely cause a fresh headache for the party, which is struggling to attract youths to its cause. A survey by MaltaToday last July indicates that Adrian Delia is only trusted by 7.3% of Maltese youths, compared with 52.3% who trust Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and 39.9% who trust neither of them.
The PN said it set up Team Start precisely to reach out to more young voters, in light of the lowering of the national voting age from 18 to 16. The PN argued that voters younger than 18 would be better represented by a separate branch composed of people in their age group, rather than by MŻPN, which caters for youths aged between 18 and 35.
However, MŻPN activists have often warned that Team Start was actually created to give Adrian Delia a group of young ‘yes-men’, in sharp contrast with the more critical MŻPN.
The split emerged in full force after this year’s European Parliament and local council elections, with MŻPN placing the blame for the PN’s historic less at the feet of Delia’s leadership and Team Start blaming it on “the apathy and lack of initiative displayed by some, and not the leadership”.
Lovin Malta’s source said it is “an open secret” that Team Start was created to take over MŻPN and that this will probably take place in the coming months. The source explained that it is likely the entirety of Team Start will be bumped up to replace MŻPN members, with Team Start president Thomas De Martino becoming MŻPN president.
De Martino adopted a cautious stance when contacted by Lovin Malta, stating that he will take a decision on whether to contest for an MŻPN role in the coming months. However, he confirmed that, as he is now 19 years old, he cannot return to the executive of Team Start, which is limited to 14-18 year olds.
Asked whether people have approached him to become the new MŻPN leader, De Martino said: “The message I’m getting is that the PN needs to rise up, and that the MŻPN must rise up with it. In the current MŻPN, there are some people who want to work but others who aren’t letting them.”
Who is Thomas De Martino?
Besides being the first President of Team Start, Thomas De Martino, 19, is a presenter on the PN’s radio station NET FM.
He is one of the PN youths who has been most vocal in support of Adrian Delia’s leadership, and indeed this newsroom is informed that he was an unpaid member of the PN’s strategy team for this year’s European Parliament and Local Council elections.
Much-like many other Delia supporters, De Martino blamed the party’s devastating loss on the election on people within the PN who worked against the party’s interests in an attempt to force Delia out of power.
“Dear “Nationalist” MPs and officials who have spent the last 20 months putting spokes in the wheels of our leader, look at this map and look at what you’ve done to the party,” De Martino said, after the local elections gave the Labour Party a firm grip over the vast majority of Malta’s local councils.
“When you’re thinking about what you can do next to trip up the party, don’t you spare a thought for the supporters who love the party so much? Is it possible you don’t think of us youths who must shoulder this burden on our shoulders? Why are you doing this to us? Because you don’t like the leader?”
“How can you have the gall to insult Joseph Muscat as a ‘fascist’ when you aren’t even capable of respecting the wishes of the PN’s members and councillors? The leadership isn’t perfect and has its own problems like all leaderships do, but why must you destroy the party with infighting instead of discussing issues internally with us?”
“Aren’t you fed up of seeing that ginger [Joseph Muscat] taking the piss out of us? He had promised to uproot the PN and we’ve ended up giving him the scythe ourselves.”
After a group of PN activists presented a petition to force a confidence vote in Delia, De Martino emerged as one of the main players behind a counter-petition started to keep the leader at the helm of the party. Delia eventually won that vote, with some two-thirds of councillors voting for him to stay on as leader.
Statement from MZPN
In response to the information that was given to Lovin Malta. MZPN denied that executive members will be resigning.
“MZPN denies the assertation made by an article that was published in the media. As a team, MZPN is still functioning as normal and is in fact working on a pre-budger document.”
However, the youth-wing did mention whether its members will be reconstesting. It said that “like every other organisation, (MZPN) has its term, which expires in coming November. There is no intention from anyone in the executive to resign from his or her role”