Nationalist leader Adrian Delia has blamed the PN “establishment” for putting spokes in the wheels and issued a stern warning to his most vociferous internal critics.

“I tried to extend the hand of friendship once, twice, three times, but we cannot move on like this,” he said.

“Whoever does not want to help, who wants to stay on the fence can do so, but we have no more time to lose tolerating those who will be pulling in the opposite direction. We have to be open but strong,” Dr Delia remarked.

The PN leader was speaking on the party’s radio station on the party’s future following the disastrous defeat suffered in the European and council elections.

Dr Delia said there was no single reason for this outcome. The electorate’s message was clear. The party had not changed enough to be seen as an alternative government, he said.

The PN leader attributed the huge vote swings to the fact that politics were less polarised nowadays, and consequently voters were less reluctant to switch sides.

Swipe at party 'establishment'

However, he took a dig at the party's old guard, which he descried as the “establishment”, saying they still thought “they have a divine right to govern” and to dictate decisions.

“There are still lot of changes to be made. The result is testament to this. People want to see different faces,” he said.

Read: Former PN ministers and advisers have their say 

“We have reached a point where people have to decide. Shall we remain stuck on the ideas of those who think they know it all? If we unite we will move forward,” he added.

Although he did not refer to calls, including by former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, to seek a vote of confidence before forging ahead with his leadership of the party, he said that he was not bothered to be under scrutiny, but was resolved to carry out his mission.

“Those who do not agree, have to decide” he said.

Dr Delia said the PN would be analysing the result to identify any opportunities for growth in support, and make efforts not to lose the services of those who in recent months had approached the party to run as candidates.

Co-option decision

On the party's decision to co-opt Jean Pierre Debono for the seat vacated by David Stellini, he noted that the seventh district was not represented by the PN in Parliament. Gozo, on the other hand, already had three MPs.

While refuting claims he tried to influence the executive committee's decision, he stated that some of his predecessors had, in the past, made statements to give a certain direction as to who should be co-opted.

Dr Delia also remarked that many committee members turned up for this meeting, “including some who had barely showed up in the last two years”. The decision went to a vote with Mr Debono edging it by 42 votes to 40.

The PN leader said that in the coming days he would be visiting Gozo to lay the minds of PN voters at rest on the matter.

Metsola to head party's EP delegation

Dr Delia announced that MEP Roberta Metsola, who obtained the highest number of votes from among the PN candidates, would be appointed as the head of the PN delegation in the European Parliament.

He added that in the coming months the party would decide what positions to take in Europe on issues relating to Malta.

The PN leader said that Labour’s huge victory in the elections did not mean that the government was absolved from the issues flagged in the rule of law report, issued by the Council of Europe. Labour's victory did not change the fact that the Prime Minister has too much powers, he said.

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