Bernard Grech’s leadership seat could be up for grabs soon, as the PN stares down the barrel of another election defeat.
The PN’s statute automatically triggers a leadership race in the case of a general election loss.
This provision was inserted in June 2020, when detractors of former PN leader Adrian Delia were devising ways to unseat him after the election.
Delia instead was forced into a leadership battle weeks later, losing out to Grech, who won 69.3 per cent of the vote.
Grech could now potentially face his own leadership challenger, after just a year-and-a-half in the party’s top job.
During the last day of campaigning, the PN leader said he intends to seek re-election in case of defeat at the polls.
Giglio shuts down talk of leadership bid
His chances all depend on whether any viable contenders throw their hats into the ring, as well as the size of the general election defeat.
PN candidate Joe Giglio, who is on for a strong showing, has been rumoured to be eyeing the party’s top job.
However, he poured cold water of any such plans last week, saying he has “absolutely no intention” to contest the leadership.
If that turns out to be the case, all eyes will be on whether Delia will seek another shot at the leadership.
PN’s 14-year itch
Another bruising leadership contest will likely spell further doom for a party that has not won any form of election in 14 years.
Its last victory, in the 2008 general election, was by a razor-thin margin of 1,500 votes under Lawrence Gonzi’s leadership.
The following year, the party crashed to a massive defeat in the European Parliament elections. The 35,000-vote gap in that election would become all too familiar to the PN in the following years.
Labour’s grip over the electorate would be further confirmed in the 2013 general election, when the party shot to power with another 35,000 margin over PN.
That latest defeat saw Gonzi bow out, paving the way for Simon Busuttil.
Busuttil would ultimately lead the party to another 35,000-vote defeat after then prime minister Joseph Muscat called a snap general election in 2017.
Busuttil called it a day after that, with Delia next to step up to the plate.
His leadership saw a massive 42,000-vote defeat in the European Parliament elections and an even larger 47,000-vote demolition in the local council election, which were both held in May 2019.
Grech entered the scene in October 2020, taking the party into his first election yesterday.