A law that grants more rights to domestic violence and rape victims has left gaping wounds within the Nationalist Party, with former leader Simon Busuttil and the current leader’s wife Nickie Vella de Fremeaux both washing their dirty linen on Facebook.
Although Opposition leader Adrian Delia gave his MPs a free vote on the Bill, many of his supporters are viewing the fact that Busuttil and seven other PN MPs voted with the government as a sign of dissent against their leader.
These included Delia’s canvasser Ċensu Borg (Ċensu l-Iswed), who described the “disobedient” MPs as traitors.
The PN leader’s own wife Nickie Vella de Fremeaux, who claimed the Bill has “robbed my status as a mother”, also took a dig at those MPs and suggested they are harming the PN.
Busuttil published a Facebook comment by a PN supporter, who said the eight “dissident” MPs are dead to him after the vote.
“I am disheartened to read such comments after I have given and continue to give all I have with great risk to myself and my family,” Busuttil said. “I am now starting to understand what Daphne [Caruana Galizia] must have felt when she ended up attacked from all sides.”
MP Jason Azzopardi, one of the other MPs who voted in favour of the Bill, shared Busuttil’s post and quoted Jesus: “No prophet is accepted in his hometown”.
MP Marthese Portelli, who voted with Delia, condemned the disparaging comments by PN supporters against the MPs who voted in favour of the domestic violence law.
“Dr Adrian Delia gave the free vote because he believes in it – I believe this is something to applaud,” Portelli said. “I have chosen to speak out because I am sure that had all those throwing scathing remarks been present during this parliamentary group meeting, their comments on Facebook would have been very different.
I voted against the law, but yes, on this I stand by all my colleagues and by the free vote given by Dr Adrian Delia, irrespective of whether they voted in favour or against.
The whole controversy centres around the fact that the government removed the specific reference to the unborn child as a family member that was present in the old domestic violence law. Although physical violence against unborn children will remain a crime as covered by the Criminal Code, Opposition MPs have claimed the removal of this specific clause will pave the way for the legalisation of abortion.
The whole situation is clearly delighting the Labour Party, whose youth arm FZL came up with a mock Panini sticker album that takes the mickey out of the Opposition.