The future of the Nationalist Party could be at stake on Tuesday when the executive committee meets to decide on the way forward in the wake of the president’s decision to retain Adrian Delia as leader of the opposition in parliament.
Party sources told Times of Malta that committee members loyal to Delia will seek disciplinary action against the dissidents, 17 MPs and two MEPs, who had passed a vote of no-confidence in him, even though the matter is not on the agenda.
The PN leader has consistently defied the calls for his resignation, saying it is not up the MPs to decide his future but up to party members and the general council, the party’s highest organ, which elected him. Meanwhile, President George Vella has decided that Delia’s removal would not be in line with the spirit of the constitution and will retain him in place.
The rift within the PN has widened amid calls for the expulsion of the dissident MPs, who insist the party stands no chance of making electoral inroads with Delia at the helm.
The meeting of the executive committee, which numbers around 80 members from the various party organs, was summoned by Delia himself.
There are two scenarios which could lead to the expulsion of the MPs
According to the PN statute, there are two scenarios which could lead to the expulsion of the MPs. In the first, anyone who joins another political party, enrols in an organisation whose principles are deemed by the executive committee to go against the party’s interests, or fail to pay their membership, would be liable to immediate dismissal.
The statute also caters for cases whereby somebody’s conduct is deemed by the executive committee to have “jeopardised the party’s interests”.
In this case, any disciplinary action would have to start within a separate organ, the administrative committee.
This committee would refer the case to a disciplinary board and if this board deems there are sufficient grounds for disciplinary action, the matter would then be referred for a final decision by the executive committee.
The appointment of the members of this disciplinary board, which was only established a fortnight ago under the PN’s new statute, will also be decided at today’s meeting.
There are conflicting interpretations of which statutory clause should apply in the current circumstances.
Given that the dissenting MPs have not established any new political force or joined another organisation, it seems that the committee will be more inclined to wait for the first move from the administrative committee.
This will convene on Tuesday, before the executive committee meeting, in what party sources said was standard procedure.