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Updated: Sliema's deputy mayor resigns from the PN, becomes active member of the PL

PN accepts resignation

Sliema's deputy mayor Cyrus Engerer has resigned from the Nationalist Party this afternoon and joined Labour as an active member.

In a statement, the Nationalist Party accepted Mr Engerer's resignation saying that while it did not agree with his reasons, because it respected diversity of thought within it, it respected Mr Engerer's decision.

But Mr Engerer said:

"The Nationalist Party persists in being conservative and my principles are in conflict with it. So I could not remain a member," Mr Engerer told timesofmalta.com

He said that he will remain an independent councillor in Sliema and will remain loyal to his constituents.

Mr Engerer said that the Prime Minister's speech on the divorce debate in Wednesday was what pushed him to take his decision.

He said that his liberal democratic principles were clashing with the conservative principles of the PN and a conflict had been created.

Mr Engerer said that PN was previously a coalition of conservative members with liberals and it had kept back on certain civil issues because of other priorities, such as EU membership, something he personally had strived for.

But rather than progressing since becoming an EU member, the party had regressed.

He referred to a seminar on the recognition of same sex couples last week and said that the point made by the PN’s representative was that to be gay was not a disease.

“Is this the message the PN wanted to give,” he asked.

Mr Engerer said that he had been working within the PN to change its conservative stand and now felt he had been left with no option but to resign.

Soon after resigning, Mr Engerer spoke with Labour leader Joseph Muscat who welcomed him as an active member of the PL.

Mr Engerer started ruffling feathers with comments he wrote on Facebook following the Prime Minister's "no" vote in the second reading of the divorce debate in Parliament.

But when timesofmalta.com contacted Mr Engerer this morning he confirmed that he still represented the Nationalist Party. He later announced his decision.

The pro-divorce group StandUP, of which he is an official, expressed disappointment that Dr Gonzi had voted no and satisfaction that the will of the people was respected by most MPs.

Early yesterday morning, Mr Engerer submitted a Corazon Aquino quotation saying "I don't have any formula for ousting a dictator or building democracy. All I can suggest is to forget about yourself and just think of your people. It's always the people who make things happen."

Later he submitted Dr Gonzi's quotation "Judge me not by what I say but by what I do".

He called for the Prime Minister's immediate resignation.

Many on Facebook congratulated Mr Engerer for this guts but others opted to call him names and say that he is the one who should resign.

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