Opposition leader Adrian Delia came out swinging with fighting words on Saturday, as he faces mounting pressure to step down from his own colleagues in the Nationalist Party.  

Speaking on the PN’s Net FM, Dr Delia said he would not let the party be taken over by “those who think it belongs to them”.  

Some of the party’s MPs have openly called for the unpopular Dr Delia to step aside, and say that their demand is backed by a majority of the party’s MPs.

Dr Delia however has dismissed that claim, insisting that he still enjoys the support of most of his party’s parliamentary group and arguing that dissidents must respect the wishes of party members, who elected him leader in 2017.

He struck a defiant tone during a Friday evening interview aired on national broadcaster TVM, saying "nobody tells me when to resign", and on Saturday he stuck to that view. 

Dr Delia said Nationalist members should not be surprised by the results of recent negative surveys.  

A trust rating published on Sunday had Prime Minister Robert Abela at 62.5% while Dr Delia stood at just 13.5%, the widest gap ever registered between the leaders of Malta’s main political parties. 

Dr Delia said that those who wanted to see these surveys turned around should start toeing the party line and working for the good of the PN.  

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“I was elected by those who wanted new blood in the PN, by those who truly wanted to open the doors,” he said.   

Dr Delia said he was confident that the PN was able to change the country for the better, and those who truly wanted to serve the country and not just their own interests should be a part of it.    

“The Nationalist Party has to strip itself of the pretensions of arrogance, and the assumption that it has a right to be in government,” he said, adding that this was the real reform that needed to take place.   

He dismissed claims that he was dependant on his MP salary, a well as other claims that he had not paid his taxes. 

"I will make much more money than I currently do when I eventually return to private practise," Dr Delia, a lawyer by profession, said.