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The government will not be allowed to dictate the Opposition's agenda, and the fight against corruption will become even more fierce, new PN leader Adrian Delia told an enthusiastic crowd on the Granaries in Floriana this evening

“We will as from tomorrow in court defend the country against corruption. This fight will not stop, it will get more fierce,” he said to applause. (Mr Justice Antonio Mizzi will decide in court whether Panama Papers-related appeals should be heard in open court.)

Dr Delia was replying to questions by Xarabank host Peppi Azzopardi in an activity that opened the PN's Independence celebrations.  

The national regulatory institutions were not doing their duty, he said. So what was protecting the people? It was an international disgrace that Malta had a minister facing an investigation and who had refused to appear before the Pana committee.

But, he said, at the same time as it fought corruption ceaselessly, the PN would also seek and promote the aspirations of the people.

'Instead of preaching fear, we will sow hope,” Dr Delia said to more applause.

Instead of preaching fear, we will sow hope
 

On Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s call this morning for him to immediately reverse a PN decision not to participate in a committee on waste recycling policies, Dr Delia said the government would not dictate the Opposition’s agenda. The PN’s decision was not taken by a person but by the party, he said.  The leader did not decide on his own but, in this case, after a meeting of the parliamentary group and it was unfair of Labour to have requested the change of decision in this way when he had not yet convened the group. 

Furthermore, he still had to see what the government wanted. Would it be an Opposition representative among many on the committee, or would the PN really participate in the decision-making?

The government’s track record so far did not reflect participation. It did not even reveal signed contracts to the opposition, let alone invite it for decision-making.

The PN was ready to serve the environment, including tackling the waste problems, but not in the way the government wanted. He had to be sure that the government’s invitation was an honest one, not an attempt to cover up its own actions.  

Asked about the financial allegations made about him, Dr Delia said those were not allegations but stories by a single person within a business model aimed at making money from readership, at the expense of people and party unity. There was nothing to investigate, he said, but if the party ethics committee or any other commission wanted to investigate anything, he was prepared to submit to its scrutiny. 

He said he was prepared to produce a list of people who had given the person who wrote the stories against him detailed and accurate information which she had not published, as it would spoil her story.

A SOULLESS STATE

When speaking about the family, Dr Delia accused the government of intentionally rendering Malta a ‘soulless state’ one step after another, undermining the nation’s values. The PN, he said, had to be firm, vigilant and united to safeguard the values of the country. 

Asked about legislation on prostitution Dr Delia stressed that he was strongly against the commercialisation of the human body, but he was in favour of measures to protect people. One would therefore see what the government proposed. 

On the legalisation of marijuana, Dr Delia again insisted that the taking of cannabis was not a personal choice. This was a decision which affected society and the individuals concerned. He was already discussing the issue with experts to prepare himself for an eventual debate in Parliament. What this country needed was to see how best to fight the war on drugs.

Regarding the return of public holidays that fall on weekends, Dr Delia said decisions were taken in the past according to the circumstances of the country. One needed to discuss the issue with the constituted bodies including employers and trade unions. If society could afford more rest days, then that should be considered, but one first needed to see what was best for society at this juncture. He had no position yet.  

Replying to other questions, Dr Delia reiterated his intention to phone Chris Said to enlist his contribution in the PN.

Dr Said, he said, had competence, experience, and was well versed in administration. He would be very useful for the party. "I am sure he will be with us, all hands on deck, to help the PN.”

Asked if Dr Said could be deputy leader, Dr Delia said the statute laid down that the deputy leaders were elected by the members, and he would respect the democratic process.

He said that in the coming days, he expected to announce the conclusion of an agreement that would lead to him taking a seat in Parliament.

Those present for the event included deputy leaders Mario de Marco and Beppe Fenech Adami, who both hugged Dr Delia.

 PL: DELIA ALMOST COMPLETELY NEGATIVE

In a reaction to the interview, the Labour Party said Dr Delia was almost completely negative, even on the matter of PN participation in the waste management committee. It appeared so far that only faces had changed in the PN. 

 It also appeared that Dr Delia would not collaborate much on other issues. 

Dr Delia had failed his first small test, the PL said. 

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