Nationalist deputy leader for party affairs Robert Arrigo has given notice of his intention to resign. The news came at the worst possible time for the party amid an open rebellion within the parliamentary group against embattled leader Adrian Delia.
On Thursday morning, he confirmed to Times of Malta that he had announced the decision in an email sent to PN MPs.
“I will leave the post after the next General Council or fundraising marathon in order to leave in an orderly fashion,” he said.
The 65-year-old MP who for successive elections was elected from two electoral districts and former Sliema mayor was elected deputy leader in 2017 as part of the new leadership line up under Adrian Delia.
During his stint Mr Arrigo, an entrepreneur in the tourism industry, played a crucial role to keep the party's ailing finances afloat. Recently, he had taken over the role of party treasurer following the resignation of Antoine Zammit last September.
Arrigo says Delia had to face a 'tsunami'
In his resignation letter, Mr Arrigo blamed the parliamentary group for making “everybody’s life miserable” during what he described as 30 dismal months.
“Ultimately, it’s a destruction of our party,” the outgoing deputy leader said adding he did not wish to be shadowing any subject for the rest of the legislature.
He also accused MPs of boycotting party events, which he said were accelerating “the impossibility of the party to survive” from a financial perspective.
Mr Arrigo also pointed fingers at those who he said were “foul mouthing” prospective new candidates. “Who else can the party attract?” he questioned.
In a dig at former party officials and those who were in leadership positions before him, he said they had “ran out, escaped, leaving the party in shambles”.
“The gurus can move in, as they are talented and not mediocre as was said by Claudio [Grech]. The aim to oust has now turned to destruction of the party” he added.
As for Adrian Delia, he said that the PN leader had to face a “tsunami” by his critics.
Mr Arrigo also touched on the party’s financial woes, saying the leadership had to settle bills which had been left pending since 2008 when Joe Saliba was secretary-general. These included the marble for the party headquarters, broadcasting licences, and expenses of previous election campaigns
“Hatred is now ingrained. All strata of the party are contaminated,” he said.
Mr Arrigo ended his letter saying he was proud to have served within the party for 26 years, and that he had “withstood hatred from [Lawrence] Gonzi and Austin [Gatt]".