A total of 19 "or more" Nationalist MPs have informed President George Vella that they have no faith in opposition leader Adrian Delia, sources have told Times of Malta.
But it is believed the president has not yet made up his mind whether Delia should be replaced by nominee Therese Comodini Cachia following consultations with his own experts.
"One of the president's constitutional experts is believed to have reached a different conclusion to three experts commissioned by the 19 MPs who want Delia to go," said one source on condition of anonymity.
This could possibly mean that Delia could still remain serving as opposition leader despite the fact he no longer enjoys the trust of his own MPs.
Delia lost a vote of confidence at the hands of his own parliamentary group last Tuesday, but he defiantly insisted he will remain leading the party and heading the opposition. Eleven MPs voted in favour of Delia but sources said they believe one of them defected to the majority group.
Vella started the consultation process on Thursday after opposition MPs Chris Said and Claudette Buttigieg asked him to trigger the process to remove Delia from his constitutional role. The meetings ended on Friday afternoon.
Constitutional law experts Kevin Aquilina, Giovanni Bonello and Austin Bencini have advised that the president was constitutionally bound to remove Delia if he ascertains that he lost the majority support of his MPs.
But sources said the president had received advice to the contrary from his own experts.
The Office of the President has not given any comment.
When contacted, MP Chris Said said: "It's crystal clear by now that the Labour Party is doing its utmost for Delia to stay. The worst thing that can happen to our country is for certain experts, who so far remain unnamed, to have an agenda to ensure the PN remains in this state. Our group is determined to fight to make sure the PN opposition gets stronger and provides the real checks and balances on this government."
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