Should the PN stick with Adrian Delia, should it replace him with a more experienced politician or should it elevate another complete newcomer to the top of the party?
These are the questions PN members will be asking themselves this summer when they head to the polls in a leadership election.
Meanwhile, Lovin Malta has conducted a poll to try and find out which of the people most commonly touted as PN leaders are most popular among its readers. And while the poll is in no way scientific or an accurate representation of PN members, it received over 8,000 responses in just a few days, and the results make for some interesting reading.
So who is the most popular potential candidate?
8. Claudio Grech (144 votes, 1%)
The shadow economy minister was the original choice for Opposition leader when the majority of PN MPs unsuccessfully launched a constitutional attempt to remove Delia from his parliamentary role. However, Claudio Grech is believed to have turned the offer down and has since shown no sign that he’s interested in running for leader.
7. Therese Comodini Cachia (237 votes, 2%)
After Grech rejected the offer, PN MPs settled on MP Therese Comodini Cachia as their proposed new Opposition leader. The former MEP gave several interviews but has refused to commit to running for PN leader and this poll indicates that she has failed to capture the imagination of voters.
6. Mark Anthony Sammut (271 votes, 3%)
The youngest person whose name keeps coming up as a potential leader, Mark Anthony Sammut is seen by some as possessing the youthful energy needed for the party to reinvigorate itself and render itself appealing to younger voters. However, the Gudja councillor and former PN president didn’t fare much better than Comodini Cachia in this poll.
5. Joe Giglio (730 votes, 10%)
One of Malta’s most prominent criminal lawyers, Joe Giglio has often been named as a potential leader but he has played down such calls on the grounds that the position will severely limit the amount of time he can enjoy with his family. He placed fifth in this poll, quite a way ahead of Grech, Comodini Cachia and Sammut, but quite a way behind the frontrunners.
4. Franco Debono (1,042 votes, 14%)
A Franco Debono leadership would represent one of the greatest political comebacks in Maltese history. During his time as MP two legislatures ago, Debono proposed a raft of constitutional and institutional reforms, which were ignored by the PN government of the time but which have since been largely implemented into law.
However, he was barred from contesting the 2013 election after he voted against the government’s proposed budget, triggering a general election, which the Labour Party won by a large margin.
He has published several messages from supporters urging him to contest the leadership in recent days and this poll indicates he enjoys considerable support.
3. Adrian Delia (1,131 votes, 14%)
Adrian Delia became the first PN leader to get elected by the party’s members three years ago and he has pledged to contest the upcoming leadership race. Revered by his supporters as a relatively new politician capable of connecting with people on an individual level but loathed by his critics as an unelectable leader haunted by several controversies, Delia is surely one of the most divisive political leaders in Malta’s history.
The crisis over his leadership reached boiling point in recent weeks when he lost three internal votes, at the PN parliamentary group, Executive Council and General Council, but he has pledged to soldier on and contest the upcoming internal election on a platform of attracting new people to the party.
2. Roberta Metsola (1,365 votes, 17%)
Extremely popular among sections of the PN electorate, Roberta Metsola has served as an MEP since 2013, winning re-election last year with more votes than any other PN candidate. A strong campaigner, she has often been named as a potential PN leader and recently penned an opinion piece which many interpreted as a pitch for the top job.
She would become the first woman to take charge of a major Maltese political party if elected and this poll shows she would be in with a shot of beating Delia in a leadership race.
1. Bernard Grech (2,874 votes, 36%)
He has as little political experience as Delia did three years ago, but Bernard Grech has certainly struck a chord among PN supporters. A civil lawyer by trade, Grech has never contested an election at any level, with his most notable contribution to Maltese public life so far being his involvement in the anti-divorce campaign nine years ago.
However, he has won the hearts of several PN supporters through a series of interviews and one-to-one meetings and survey after survey places him as the favourite for the top job. This poll is no different, giving him double the support of Metsola.