Tista' taqra bil- Malti.
Partit Nazzjonalista leader Adrian Delia said that he has still to decide on whether he will accept the resignations tendered by high officials within the party.
Speaking during an interview on the party’s media, Delia was asked about Clyde Puli and Robert Arrigo’s resignations from their post as Secretary General and Deputy Leader respectively. He said that in their letters both detailed why they were resigning from their posts and did so with great responsibility towards the party. Referring specifically to Arrigo’s resignation letter, Delia said that Arrigo referred to the internal turmoil as a “tsunami”.
An internal leadership crisis was sparked following the abysmal ratings Delia showed in a recent MaltaToday poll which showed that despite the national political crisis, Partit Nazzjonalista which represents the largest Opposition grouping in Parliament failed to gain ground and create inroads into Partit Laburista.
Delia had claimed that he still enjoys the confidence of the parliamentary group and that he would be at the helm for the next general election following a parliamentary group meeting on Wednesday. The next day, MPs fumed over his claims when it was made known that Delia was given some days to reconsider his position considering that trust in him as a leader had dropped to a historic low.
Former PN MP and party veteran Louis Galea who was tasked with the party reform among others called for a new leadership team, while on Thursday Robert Arrigo said he would be resigning from deputy leader, while Kristy Debono resigned from PN General Council president. On Friday, Secretary General Clyde Puli tendered his resignation.
The party belongs to its members
Delia reiterated that the party does not belong to one person, that is the leader, leadership, parliamentary group but belongs to the paid up members who have elected their leader. He insisted on having the members of the party whoever they are whether in positions of power or not play an active role in forming the party politics. “Everyone will be listened to, everyone can speak their mind,” he said.
He noted that the party members were a wider reflection of society. Adding that they were the owners of the party and not “a group of people” within the party who think that they can dictate the way forward.
“The soul of the party is made of its members,” the Nationalist leader stated.
Reacting to various comments, Delia said that someone had commented that he could not leave politics due to his personal financial situation. He dismissed the claim saying that when he will leave politics he would return to private practice where he earned much more than he earns from Parliament as an Opposition Leader. He added that he did not receive a salary from the Nationalist Party.
Describing the tax issue as an “outright” lie, Delia said that he paid up all of his taxes and has shown these documents to the local media. These documents are public he remarked.
Delia invited those who want to investigate, to do so.
“If someone has something to say, they come and say it to my face,” Delia challenged.
The PN leader spoke about a report by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, remarking that this concerned his client about something which allegedly happened twenty years ago in the UK.
“This is not even within Malta’s jurisdiction,” Delia said. He remarked that he asked FIAU to tell him about what and how, and he would explain. However, the FIAU told him that they had sent the report to the Police.
“If there’s something to investigate, do it. But don’t use it as blackmail.”
During the public inquiry sitting on Wednesday, Police Superintendent Ray Aquilina told the Board of Inquiry that the FIAU had drawn up a report on Delia in March 2018. The report was then passed on to the police. Replying to a question by Madam Justice Abigail Lofaro, Aquilina confirmed that the case against former Economy Minister Chris Cardona was closed while the investigation into Delia was still ongoing. Aquilina said that he had passed the report to his superiors.
By law, the FIAU cannot tip off a person who is subject of an investigation. The FIAU passes on reports to the police when there is reasonable suspicion of money laundering.
“Don’t allow the government to blackmail the Opposition Leader,” Delia said on Saturday, “because otherwise it is a frame up and an abuse of our institutions”.