Robert Arrigo is forging ahead with his deputy leadership campaign despite an appeal by Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia to withdraw from the race, the Times of Malta has learnt.

PN sources said Dr Delia summoned the MP a few days ago in an attempt to dissuade him from contesting the election for the post of deputy leader, party affairs. “As a compromise, Mr Arrigo was offered to oversee the PN’s finances. However, he flatly refused the offer,” they said.

Clyde Puli, who backed Dr Delia in the leadership race, is also being linked to this post.

When contacted yesterday, Mr Arrigo expressed his resolve in having a go at the deputy leadership. “I can confirm I will be throwing my name in the hat and then it will be up to the councillors and party members to decide,” he said.

Questions sent to the PN remained unanswered at the time of writing.

Mr Arrigo was offered to oversee the PN’s finances. However, he flatly refused

There has been a degree of controversy within the PN with regard to the deputy leadership election and a meeting between Dr Delia and Prime Minister Joseph Muscat last Tuesday stoked the fire.

At the meeting, Dr Delia was accompanied by Mr Puli and party whip David Agius. A section of the party grassroots felt their presence was out of place because it seemed to convey a strong message they were Dr Delia’s two “anointed” deputy leaders.

Dr Delia insisted there was “no political” reason behind their presence and that it was not meant to exclude anybody else.

Mr Agius has already declared his intention to run for deputy leader, parliamentary affairs and Mr Puli is being touted as a possible deputy leader for party affairs.

The list of candidates could grow as Chris Said, who lost narrowly to Dr Delia in the leadership contest, and Kristy Debono have not excluded joining the race.

Though no dates have yet been set for the election, the aim is to have the new deputy leaders and party administration in place by the end of the year.

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