Kristy Debono has resigned from her post as president of the Nationalist Party General Council, the second senior official to resign after that of deputy leader Robert Arrigo.
Ms Debono was one of the strongest backers of embattled party leader Adrian Delia and had been facing a wave of criticism, the latest being for not reporting regularly for work at the Malta Gaming Authority, where she is employed.
Last year she was strongly criticised for having had a meeting with Yorgen Fenech to seek a sponsorship for a political activity. Mr Fenech had at the time already been identified as the owner of secret Dubai company 17 Black.
A few months later he was accused of being an accomplice in the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Ms Debono announced her resignation in a Facebook post on a day of open rebellion against Dr Delia, with a majority of MPs calling for his resignation. The spark was a parliamentary group meeting on Wednesday when MPs discussed an exit strategy for Dr Delia. He told the MPs he would consider their views, but minutes later told journalists he would stay on as party leader.
In her resignation announcement, on Facebook, Ms Debono said she had decided to step down after careful reflection to create space for new people in the top echelons of the party.
She said the party needed to unite so that it could become relevant and an alternative government.
She said she remained committed to working for the party, particularly in parliament.
Just hours earlier, deputy leader Robert Arrigo revealed he intended to resign at the next general council meeting next month.