If Delia loses majority I would remove him – President last February

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

President George Vella had said that if Opposition Leader Adrian Delia lost the majority among the his parliamentary group, he would remove him from the post, last February.

President Vella had told journalists that if there was “concrete proof” that Delia has lost the support of the majority of Opposition MPs, he would take action. Vella had said that he was obliged to act once there is proof the Opposition Leader no longer enjoys the support of his parliamentary group.

Back in February, Vella had said that there was no such evidence had reached him that warranted action on his part. This was during the time that 17 MPs had asked Delia to reconsider his position after an abysmal performance in a survey.

On Monday afternoon, President Vella released a statement saying that Delia would stay on as Opposition Leader.

Last Tuesday, Delia lost a vote of confidence within his parliamentary group with 19 votes to 11. Opposition MPs Chris Said and Claudette Buttigieg then formally informed the President that Delia no longer enjoys the support of the parliamentary group and nominated Therese Comodini Cachia in his stead.

The President proceeded to carry out one-to-one meetings with the Opposition MPs. From these consultations it emerged that 16 MPs remained against Delia as Opposition Leader, while 11 including Delia himself insisted that he should stay on. MP Stephen Spiteri abstained.

President Vella finally broke his silence on Monday saying that Delia is to stay on as Leader of the Opposition.

In a lengthy statement explaining the rational behind the decision, the President said that while he is satisfied that Delia does not enjoy the trust of the majority of the opposition, the constitutional interpretation given to him by lawyers led him to this decision.