Nationalist MP Chris Said on Saturday urged party leader Adrian Delia to "heed the message" after party councillors voted against him and opted for a leadership election.
Said was speaking shortly after the PN general council decided to forge ahead with a leadership contest, following two votes of no confidence in Delia by his fellow parliamentarians and the executive committee.
Referring to comments by Delia that should he be re-elected, he will work for "new politics with a new team", he said this was a divisive message, symptomatic of the current situation because he had not been able to unite the party.
In no democratic country did a party leader stay on after losing confidence votes in three party organs, he said. It was Delia himself in an e-mail to supporters who had described Saturday's poll as a vote of confidence, he said.
The MP, who lost to Delia in a leadership election three years ago, said there were no winners or losers on Saturday.
All those who loved the PN had won. Now that a decision had been taken, all those who had the PN at heart should unite for an open, democratic election which reflected the strength and enthusiasm of the party.
It was also important that valid people came forward as candidates to serve the party and the country.
Asked if his group would work with Delia if he was re-elected, Said skirted the question. He said Delia had won just 44 per cent of the councillors' votes. He had no doubt that the same vote would be reflected among the party members when they voted.
The MPs, he said, were loyal to the country and the party. They had a duty to ensure that the country had a credible opposition which could be an alternative government. They had put their political careers on the line to save their party.
Said said he did not have the slightest interest to be a candidate in the election.
Comodini Cachia hints at bid
His fellow MP Therese Comodini Cachia, on the other hand, hinted that she would run for the party leadership.
In a video posted to social media on Sunday morning, Comodini Cachia said that she would "continue to serve as a catalyst to bring together and provide direction to the mosaic of people creating a strong future for the party".
"Just as I was at the forefront in giving party members this choice, I will continue to contribute to ensure the PN is a strong, united and serious party."
Comodini Cachia was nominated by a majority of her fellow party MPs as opposition leader earlier this month, after PN leader Delia lost a confidence vote among his MPs.
That nomination was however rebuffed by President George Vella, who said that he could not strip Delia of the title of opposition leader.
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