PN's David Agius submits nomination to contest party deputy leadership post

'The situation is still very fluid'

Updated at 1.45pm

PN whip David Agius stuck to his guns and this afternoon submitted his nomination to contest the party's deputy leadership, parliamentary affairs, election.

His move risks derailing a plan to have Chris Said be Adrian Delia’s second in command in a bid to reunite the party.

Nationalist Party sources who yesterday spoke to the Times of Malta on the condition of anonymity said that Mr Agius had argued that if he was expected to pull out, the same should happen in the case of the election for deputy leader, party affairs, where the sole candidate so far is Robert Arrigo.

However, they pointed out that the situation was still “very fluid”.

Nominations for the posts of deputy leaders close today at 6pm.

At the time of writing, MP Toni Bezzina was still mulling over whether to throw his name in the hat and challenge Robert Arrigo for the post.

I am taking my time to decide in the party’s interests

Card-carrying members will choose on November 18.

Though MP Edwin Vassallo is also in the running, he has already declared he will be stepping aside should Dr Said enter the race. When Dr Said accepted Dr Delia’s invitation to become his deputy in a bid to heal internal rifts, he made it a condition that he would be uncontested.

But this put him on a collision course with Mr Agius, who announced his intention to run for the same office in July and was going ahead at full steam with his campaign as of Wednesday, the sources said.

In fact, Mr Agius had invited members through Facebook to endorse his nomination.

A recent MaltaToday survey highlighted Dr Delia’s weak support among those who had opposed his candidature, and this pushed the new PN leader to try harder to persuade Mr Agius to withdraw from the race.

The PN sources said the original plan also entailed a deputy leader for party affairs from the Delia camp, but Mr Arrigo’s nomination derailed the project. Attempts to persuade Mr Arrigo to bow out of the contest “in the party’s interests” had failed, the sources added.

Then, Mr Bezzina, who backed Alex Perici Calascione in the leadership race, emerged as a possible challenger to Mr Arrigo.

Mr Bezzina, an architect by profession who is thought to have strong support in the south and Gozo, admitted when contacted yesterday he was still weighing his options.

Both Clyde Puli and Kristy Debono, who at one stage were touted to be interested in the deputy leader, party affairs, post, no longer appear interested.

Sources said Mr Puli was being mentioned as a possible administrative council president, where he would be actively involved in party strategy and media.

According to the sources, Ms Debono could become president of the general council, but she is expected to face a challenge from former Cabinet minister Ċensu Galea, ­also showing interest.

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