President’s decision goes against the Constitution – MPs

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

President George Vella’s decision to retain embattled Partit Nazzjoanlista leader Adrian Delia as Leader of the Opposition despite losing a vote of confidence within his parliamentary group, breaches the Constitution, the majority of MPs who have voted against him say.

In a statement on Monday, the MPs said that once President Vella confirmed that Delia no longer enjoyed the trust of the majority of the group, he was duty bound to remove him from Opposition Leader and appoint an MP who enjoyed the trust of the rest of the group.

“That is what the Constitution says and what the President failed to do,” the MPs said in a joint statement following the news.

Last Tuesday, Delia lost a vote of confidence with 19 votes to 11. MPs Chris Said and Claudette Buttigieg informed President George Vella that Delia no longer enjoyed the trust of the MPs and wanted him replaced by Therese Comodini Cachia.

Following one-to-one meetings with the MPs, Vella decided that Delia should stay on as Opposition Leader. In his statement, the President said that 16 MPs had said that they no longer supported Delia as Opposition Leader while 11 including Delia himself had said they wanted him to remain on. MP Stephen Spiteri abstained from taking a side during his one to one meeting with the president.

The MPs referred to authoritative interpretations by former ECHR Judge Giovanni Bonello, former Dean of the Faculty of Laws at the University of Malta Prof. Kevin Aquilina and Dr Austin Bencini. They highlighted that their names were public and did not remain unnamed.

Determined to bring the necessary changes

The PN MPs said that they were determined to bring about the necessary changes within the party and the country.

The Opposition MPs said that with a sense of responsibility towards the country and the party they will continue encouraging the PN to appoint a leader with integrity, who was honest and credible and who puts the national interest and the PN’s interest before his own.

“I’m determined to continue serving my country and the party especially considering the united group of MPs I gathered in the last few days. This has given hope to the people,” Comodini Cachia said.