Opposition leader Adrian Delia intentionally or otherwise revealed last night that he still keeps a photo of his wife Nickie Vella de Fremeaux on his office desk, despite her having accused him of domestic violence as part of ongoing separation proceedings.
PN sources told Lovin Malta that the photo, which was visible during an interview Delia gave to NET TV, has been on the PN leader’s desk since the very first day he took up the job two years ago.
It is a small insight into how Delia has been personally handling the crisis that hit him this month, with the domestic violence accusations quickly followed by a leak of the PN leader’s private SMSes and videos to WhatsApp channels.
At one point, it seemed like there was no way out for Delia, with even some MPs and officials who had backed him from the start telling the press, on condition on anonymity, that the PN leader’s time was up.
Yet Delia has overseen a remarkable political turnaround, with PL supporters openly sympathising with him and some of his internal PN critics even starting to warm up to him.
Adrian Delia with his wife Nickie Vella de Fremeaux
“I was 95% against him, but now I would say I am 60% against him,” a PN MP told The Times of Malta after the parliamentary group convened on Monday night.
PN sources told Lovin Malta that the meeting was a cordial and frank one, with MPs openly voicing their discomfort at the domestic violence accusations and the WhatsApp leaks.
Notably, there was a visible display of bridge-building between Delia and his predecessor Simon Busuttil, who had notoriously fallen out in the wake of the Egrant inquiry last year. Sources who spoke to Lovin Malta said Busuttil had stated the the bridge-building attempts between himself and the current leader are bearing fruit and that the Labour Party had used the WhatsApp leaks to try and poke healing wounds.
Adrian Delia and Simon Busuttil are trying to mend their relationship
According to MaltaToday, Busuttil went as far as to rule out ever running for the role of PN leader again.
“The relationship between Delia and Busuttil is clearly much better than it was last summer,” an MP who has been vocal in their support of Delia told Lovin Malta. “Adrian definitely doesn’t think Simon had anything to do with the leaks, in fact he excludes it completely.”
Such signals of party unity will be crucial for Delia in the coming months as he prepares to face the electorate for the first time time at the MEP and local council elections in May. The PN leader will desperately want PN voters to vote for all seven of the party’s MEP candidates and not ignore candidates based on their perceived loyalty or disloyalty towards himself. With the vast majority of MEP candidates elected by virtue of votes that were transferred to them from other candidates, a party split could prove electorally calamitous.