PN MP Beppe Fenech Adami on Sunday acknowledged that Opposition leader Adrian Delia had been given a renewed mandate to lead the Nationalist Party until the next general election.

In comments to Times of Malta, Dr Fenech Adami, a critic of the PN leader, said everyone should accept the result following a vote in the PN’s “highest organ”, the general council.

The embattled PN leader survived a no-confidence vote on Saturday, with 67 per cent of councillors voting to retain him as leader until the next general election.

Dr Fenech Adami said that while the majority had decided, all views should be taken on board, including those of the one-third of voters who said Dr Delia should not continue to lead the party.

The PN MP said Dr Delia had sent the right message with his conciliatory tone following his victory on Saturday.

The way forward, he said, was to try to attract all members and votes towards the PN.

The PN is still the only alternative government

“The PN is still the only alternative to the Labour government. It is everyone’s duty to concentrate their energy on making the PN an Opposition to be reckoned with and a government-in-waiting,” the MP said.

Asked if he was able to work with Dr Delia, Dr Fenech Adami clarified that he never said he could not work with him. He had voiced his opinion internally and still had criticism and ideas about how to take the party forward.

He insisted that MPs had a duty to draw attention to matters when they were not going well. The PN was always a party where different ideas and approaches existed.

Fellow Delia critic Jason Azzopardi was more cryptic about his views on the way forward following Saturday’s vote.

Dr Azzopardi referred Times of Malta to an opinion piece written by anthropologist Ranier Fsadni for the Shift News on Sunday.

“I can identify with what Ranier wrote and his analysis of the consequences of the vote”, Dr Azzopardi said.

Mr Fsadni argued in his piece that the councillors who put Delia’s leadership to the vote did so out of loyalty to the party, as did the MPs who challenged Dr Delia behind closed doors or else pursued a vociferous line against government corruption, at a time when Dr Delia “was conspicuously less vocal”.

The columnist said the leader needed to address head-on the issues with which he is associated among that fraction of the middle class he needs to win back – “cronyism, misjudgements, personal indiscipline, troubling questions about undisclosed, compromising obligations”. Otherwise he will continue to be a major liability with voters.

 Dr Azzopardi refused to comment any further.

Former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, who was characterised by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat as the loser of Saturday’s vote, refused to comment.

“I do not comment publicly on internal party matters. I focus on dealing with our corrupt government”, Dr Busuttil said.

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