Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
The Nationalist Party has publicly disassociated itself from 2017 general election candidate Ryan Mercieca, who may seek to context next Thursday’s casual election to replace the late Frederick Azzopardi.
Mercieca is one of six who had contested under the PN banner in 2017 who may apply to succeed Azzopardi in Parliament. So far three of them – former minister Ċensu Galea, Maria Portelli and Jason Zammit – have done so.
In a statement, the PN’s secretary-general Francis Zammit Dimech said that following consultation with party leader Bernard Grech, he has asked the party’s ethics, discipline and media commission to investigate reports concerning Mercieca.
Mercieca, as Gozo NGOs Association secretary, had instituted a libel case against It-Torċa which alleged that he failed to produce documents related to EU funding to the association. But during proceedings, the association’s treasurer claimed that Mercieca had threatened him outside the courtroom.
Zammit Dimech said that Mercieca failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for the allegations, and that consequently, it could not consider him as a suitable PN candidate for the upcoming casual election.
But Mercieca insisted that he would still contest the casual election, prompting the commission to recommend that the party disassociate itself from Mercieca and institute procedures to expel him from the party.
The PN is following these recommendations, Zammit Dimech explained, “because the highest standards of ethics and correct behaviour in public life need to be maintained.”
Mercieca may actually stand a good chance of making it to Parliament, if his performance in 2017 is any indication. Of all the six PN candidates who may contest the casual election, he had obtained the most first-count votes (738): Portelli was a distant second at 403.