President concludes majority of MPs want Delia removed

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The majority of Opposition MPs have told President George Vella that they want Partit Nazzjonalista leader Adrian Delia removed from Opposition Leader, sources speaking to Newsbook.com.mt have said.

On Tuesday, Delia lost a vote of no confidence in the PN parliamentary group. Subsequently MPs Chris Said and Claudette Buttigieg went to President George Vella to inform him that Delia no longer enjoyed the support of the parliamentary group and nominated Therese Comodini Cachia instead. This triggered Article 90(4) of the Constitution which empowers the President to remove the Opposition Leader.

President George Vella held one to one meetings with Opposition MPs to verify their position.

Sources speaking to this newsroom said that President Vella confirmed that some two-thirds of the MPs told him that they have no faith in Delia as Opposition Leader.

President George Vella is expected to communicate his decision to Adrian Delia. Newsbook.com.mt has tried reaching out to the Office of the President for a comment.

Sources told this newsroom that it was not clear whether President Vella would be appointing Comodini Cachia instead of Delia.

Legal advice sought by a group of MPs who have asked the President to appoint Comodini Cachia as Opposition Leader, confirmed that the Constitution requires the President, who is the guardian of the Constitution, to remove Delia immediately and replace him with their candidate for the post.

Delia has recently vowed that he would remain Opposition Leader because the Constitution required the President to appoint the leader of the main opposition party as opposition leader.

Constitutional law expert Austin Bencini, former European Court of Human Rights Judge Giovanni Bonello and former Dean of the law faculty Prof. Kevin Aquilina said that the Constitution requires the President to nominate as Opposition Leader the leader of the main opposition party after a general election.

But the President must remove the opposition leader if he loses the support of the opposition group in Parliament. The three legal experts maintained that the Constitution now guides the President to appoint as opposition leader the person nominated by the largest number of MPs within the opposition.

It transpired that legal experts who remain unnamed have advised President Vella that the Constitution does not require him to appoint someone else instead of Delia. During the consultation meetings held over the past days, the President was told that people would continue to lose their trust in the institutions, if no Opposition Leader was appointed.

Another argument which was being put forward was that Delia is removed only to be reappointed later. Sources ruled out that the president would choose to go that way.