Adrian Delia probably doesn’t mean anything to you right now, but he’ll soon become a household name if his plan to become the leader of the Nationalist Party succeeds.
The Birkirkara FC President is the first candidate to throw his hat in the ring and is already being pitched as the “outsider”, due to his inexperience in party politics.
Interestingly, his candidature has sparked the ire of fiercely anti-government blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia and garnered the support of well-known ‘switcher’ Robert Musumeci, who used to be Siġġiewi Mayor on the PN ticket but is now a One TV fixture and Labour advisor on planning policy (with the dubious honour of being the architect who wins most ODZ-land permits).
Caruana Galizia had this to say about Delia: “I’m not favourably impressed by the arrogance of somebody who thinks he can go from being president of a football club and a lawyer who services clients to Leader of the Opposition and then Prime Minister, overnight and with no experience in politics.”
She added: “The kind of person who thinks that he can do it when he has had no experience and training for it is… exactly the kind of person who I don’t want doing it, because he hasn’t a clue what it entails and more properly because the ‘of course I can do it – anyone can’ attitude is a big, red warning light.”
But according to Musumeci, the criticism by Caruana Galizia is one of the many reasons Delia might actually be a suitable candidate for a job.
Delia, who in a 2013 interview described himself as a “Leo”, is a commercial lawyer and a father of five.
He has never held public office and has only been involved in politics as a sometime commentator, such as when he gave his testimonial in favour of Mario de Marco’s PN leadership back in 2013, which was lost to Simon Busuttil.
Watch his testimonial for Mario de Marco in 2013
He began his career as legal counsel of Mid-Med Bank and then spent the past 20 years as a litigator.
According to his online biography, Delia is “recognised as one of the most tenacious and able professionals at the bar”.
The biography continues: “For years he advised Skanska, the multinational construction company which completed Malta’s State of the Art, Mater Dei Hospital, the largest procurement contract on the island to date.”
Skanska is also the company being sued by the government for allegedly using inferior concrete.
Delia’s biography also states that the lawyer acts for the country’s largest road construction companies, top real estate agents, development and construction companies and architectural offices.
Last January, Delia appeared on Times Talk to discuss corruption in football and how it can be tackled. He spoke out against the culture of “omerta” (secrecy) and the need for the Malta Football Association to do more to fight the scourge of corruption in Maltese football.
Delia is married to Nickie Vella De Fremeaux, an outspoken family lawyer who previously chaired the Board of Appeals on Adoptions.
In a series of Facebook posts during the election, she spoke out against the “us vs them” mentality in Maltese politics.
In this interview from 2014, she opens up about her battle with post-natal depression and speaks about juggling her career and family life.
Speaking to the Malta Independent, Delia had this to say about his priorities for the Nationalist Party:
“I think that we need enthusiasm, conviction and energy to get out there and pass on our message to the people one by one. People can sometimes be numbers in a political campaign but we need to look at every member of the entire electorate, at the citizens, irrespective of partisan politics and convince every single one of them that together we can create a better country.”
“We need to be able to really and truly get on the ground and speak to the people – not to Nationalist or Labour supporters, but to the Maltese people as a whole. We are all citizens with different aspirations and needs. This is not a question of being populist; it is a question of understanding where society is and restructuring ourselves without renouncing our values.
“Was the PN fighting the right battles? Certainly, corruption and zero tolerance towards it. Of course, there are no two ways about it. But after talking about corruption and zero tolerance, there must be more. I will tell you as a citizen that corruption will be punished, not by us but by due process at law in our courts and we need to ensure that there is such due process at law and that the law will be maintained.”
“But we also need to see how the people will actually be living tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. There are many people who do not have the luxury to contemplate certain values or principles. I am not in any way suggesting that financial or economic class or position have anything to do with values, but we need to understand the people who are concerned about the end of the month bills, and they need to also know that this is something that the next government will also be concerned about.”