It was seven years ago now that Franco Debono was turned into a political pariah after publicly criticising and voting against Lawrence Gonzi’s PN administration.
However, the tables have now turned, so much so that Gonzi himself reportedly voted against the current PN leader Adrian Delia at a recent confidence vote, an allegation he has not yet responded to when questioned by Lovin Malta.
“I was one of the original rebels within the PN, and it’s so fashionable and noble to be a PN rebel nowadays that it makes me wonder whether I should remind them I was a rebel too,” Debono said in a video.
“The fact that Gonzi is now going against the leader shows he recognises that there are circumstances in which MPs should go against their leader. When I started speaking out, the PN had just lost the 2009 MEP election by around the same margin of votes as Delia lost it [in 2019].”
“However, I had to face vicious attacks, which were organised with Gonzi’s blessing, in an attempt to silence me.”
Debono urged Gonzi to clarify his viewpoint, arguing that his vote against Delia must mean one of two things.
“He might have seen the light and realised that political dissent is healthy, that it is normal around the world for MPs to disagree with their leader and even vote against them. If that’s the case, then I offer him a hand of friendship.”
“If that’s not the case, it would mean the politics of apartheid have intensified within the PN. This is one of the PN’s biggest problems, that some people can do as they please while others, that some people are given a million opportunities while others get aborted.”
“I hope something gets done in the PN with regards the leadership issue, but will we return to the politics of apartheid? Gonzi must clarify his position in this regard. I’ve forgiven him but there are people who haven’t forgiven him or the PN.”
“If the PN wants to renew itself, it must ask itself these pertinent and relevant questions and not only scratch the surface, otherwise it will never be able to rebuild itself into a strong, credible and united opposition.”
At Delia’s request, the Nationalist Party’s executive committee will convene this evening to discuss the current crisis within the party, with “the political situation” and “concrete action” listed as items on the agenda. PN politicians who want Delia to resign are believed to try and force a third confidence vote in the leader, this time at the General Council.
Delia has said he is open to such a possibility, stating that he will resign if he loses such a vote but that if he wins, his dissenters will either have to toe the line or resign themselves.