PN General Council: too close to call – survey

Beppe Galea

A survey conducted by MISCO shows that although Dr Adrian Delia lost the support of the majority of members of the General Council of the PN that he enjoyed last year, the situation is still too close to call, according to an analyst who Newsbook.com.mt spoke to.

According to the results of the survey, 46% of the members of the General Council say that Delia must go while 41% believe that he should stay till the next general election. All will depend on the way the 12% who answered ‘don’t know’ will sway the result with their vote. Six hundred and ninety-three members of the Council were polled.

The question put to the members in the survey is different from the question that will be put to the members in next Friday’s meeting. On Friday the Councillors will be asked whether they should ask the tesserati (card-holding members) to give a vote of confidence to Delia or whether they should start a new leadership race.

But Newsbook’s analyst said that there is a relationship between the survey question and the motion that the Councillors will vote on. According to him, the pro-Delia group will probably vote to for a one-horse race through the vote of confidence, while the anti-Delia group will vote for the open leadership race.

Comfort for Delia group

The result of the survey gives hope and anxiety to both sides.

The Delia group can say that the difference is within the margin of error, so it could be that they have a majority. They will now put their all in an attempt to persuade as many counsellors as possible for their ticket. Delia, for one, has been going hammer and tongs on all programmes and stations to persuade people to support him. Besides, the media of the PN is in overdrive to push the position of Delia while almost ignoring the majority of the members of Parliament and the Executive Council.

Comfort for the anti-Delia group

The anti-Delia group can find solace in the fact that last year 67% of the members of the General Council voted for Delia to remain leader till the next General Election. If the survey shows the correct situation in the Council today it means that Delia lost 26% points in one year.

It is publicly known that members of the Parliamentary Group and of the Executive Council that supported Delia have now withdrawn their support. Ivan Bartolo, the MP from Swieqi, and Herman Schiavone are on record saying that they were part of the elect-Delia-campaign but now do not support him.

Joseph Grech, President of the MZPN and member of the Executive Council, was also part of the Delia campaign but is now staunchly anti-Delia.

The position of the Debonos

The position of Jean Pierre Debono, sources told us, is particularly interesting. Debono was for a number of years the Assistant General Secretary and a vociferous supported of Delia. He was elected to Parliament for the first time in 2017 but he gave up his seat for Delia. That is the closest that one can get to ‘getting a bullet’ for the leader. But several remarked that he was not present during the fateful Executive meetings where Delia was given a vote of no confidence in Delia and in the second meeting where Delia retreated and accepted the comprise motion for the General Council to be drafted.

Our source said that the reason for Debono’s absence is not known but what is known as a fact is that Kristy Debono, the wife of Jean Pierre, who was also a steadfast supporter of Delia has now joined the anti-Delia group.