Jason Azzopardi will not contest deputy leadership election
Small Businesses Minister Jason Azzopardi has confirmed he will not be contesting the election for deputy leader of the Nationalist Party.
The post has become vacant following the resignation of EU Commissioner-designate Tonio Borg.
Dr Azzopardi told timesofmalta.com that a number of people including PN councillors had urged him to seek the post, and he had considered it.
"That is a prestigious post," he said. He added that although he was more than willing to serve, contesting an election would mean an intensive period of lobbying which would distract him from his ministerial duties, which he did not wish to do.
"The ministry has a higher priority than myself, there are many things I wish to conclude ahead of the Budget, and my sense of duty dictates that I should put the ministry first.
"Therefore, at this moment, I cannot contest the post of deputy leader," he said.
The PN kicks off the deputy leader election process tomorrow. Other potential candidates being mentioned are Mario de Marco, Tonio Fenech, Chris Said, Beppe Fenech Adami and MEP Simon Busuttil.