Nationalist Party stalwart Edwin Vassallo says he expects those who have been “disloyal” to leader Adrian Delia to resign from the party, saying they “no longer belong”.
Vassallo was among the minority of MPs who backed Delia in a vote of confidence, which he lost by 19 votes to 11 late on Tuesday night.
The majority of MPs have since nominated Therese Comodini Cachia as opposition leader and met with President George Vella to trigger the process to replace Delia.
Vassallo said that while he was ready to work with Comodini Cachia, she was not the leader of the party he represented in parliament.
He said: “She will be the opposition leader. So be it. But she is not the leader of the party I represent in parliament. There’s a breach of the PN statute so I understand that those who decided to take this path do not belong to the party any longer. I think its only natural. Almost automatic. If you are disloyal to the party leader, then the party is not where you belong.”
Vassallo was one of those who stood by Delia but now he expects those who breached the party statute to resign from the party. “The PN is now made up of all the MPs less those MPs who walked away from their leader. We need to see how this will pan out but this is the natural consequence of their decision,” he said.
He recalled how he had to face disciplinary action in 2017 when he opted to vote against party lines on the Marriage Equality Bill. At the time, Vassallo argued that the law was “morally unacceptable” and went beyond the government’s mandate for the introduction of same-sex marriage.
“At the time they had told me I would face disciplinary action but I was ready for it because it was a point of principle. So now these MPs must face the consequences for their decision,” he said.
In a similar vein, the former PN treasurer, David Camilleri, said there had been a breach of the statute and called upon the party executive and administrative committees to take the appropriate action.
He said that according to the PN statute, the party leader is the chairman of the parliamentary group who should serve as prime minister when in government and opposition leader when the party is in opposition.
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