How does Adrian Delia plan to be leader of the Opposition if he doesn’t have a seat in parliament?

Published: June 29, 2017 at 8:15pm

This is the question that nobody is discussing. Why? The party leader isn’t the party CEO. He is also the Opposition leader (or Prime Minister), and for that he needs a seat in parliament.

Joseph Muscat faced this very dilemma in 2008, but he found a sitting duck in the gullible and highly vulnerable Joseph Cuschieri, who was persuaded to give up his seat (he had been a member of parliament for 10 years) so that Muscat, who hadn’t stood for election, could be co-opted into it.

Cuschieri’s bio describes this as an “altruistic resignation”, but in reality he was put on the Labour Party pay-roll as compensation.

This was not enough for him, and he spent the next three years agitating for suitable recognition of his great sacrifice. When Malta got its ‘sixth seat’ in the European Parliament in 2011, and it went to the Labour Party, Cuschieri was silenced by being funnelled off into it.

When that ended in 2014, Cuschieri still thought he had been given short weight on his pound of flesh, and lobbied for more, so – barely able to communicate and with no idea of protocol or international relations – he was appointed Malta’s ambassador to Greece while senior career diplomats languished at a desk at the Foreign Ministry. He remains in Athens.

When Reno Bugeja last night on TVM – or was it Rachel Attard this morning on The Malta Independent’s In Depth? – asked Adrian Delia how he plans to get round the thorny problem of having no seat in parliament, I was all ears for his reply.

“The party has mechanisms to deal with this,” he said. His interviewer did not press him on what those mechanisms might be, which is unfortunate because there are none.

The Nationalist Party has never faced a situation in which it elects a leader who has no seat in parliament and who cannot be sworn in to the Constitutional role of leader of the Opposition

Eddie Fenech Adami was co-opted into parliament as an ordinary backbencher in 1969. When he became Nationalist Party leader in 1977, it was as a member of parliament of eight years’ standing, having been elected in 1971 and again in 1976 and with the co-option long since irrelevant, so he was able to take up his Constitutional role with no such problems.

Adrian Delia, on the other hand, will have to do what Muscat did: find the weakest Nationalist backbencher MP and persuade him (because the women will send him to hell) to give up his seat, using plenty of carrots that he will still be feeding to the ‘victim’ nine or 10 years down the line. It’s either that or hope that Simon Busuttil will fall on his sword for Adrian Delia.

The Labour Party has no ‘mechanism’ either, as we have seen. Its last three party leaders were co-opted to parliament, but it was only Muscat who had to be co-opted because he had been elected leader and couldn’t become Leader of the Opposition.

Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici was co-opted to parliament in 1982 and became Labour leader (and Prime Minister) two years later. Alfred Sant was co-opted to parliament in 1987 and became Labour leader (and Opposition leader) in 1992.

If I had the resources of a newsroom, my big story right now would be contacting each of the Nationalist MPs and asking them whether they are willing to give up their seat to Adrian Delia. I might do it in between one thing and another – and I won’t delete the swear words unless I’m told they’re off the record.

Which Nationalist MP is going to be willing to give his seat in parliament to Adrian Delia, just for the sheer hell of it?

83 Comments Comment

  1. He has said that he will keep his seat in parliament. That may change, but something tells me that it is unlikely to change for Adrian Delia.

  2. Genn says:

    Ma nafx. Its getting worse by the day. The only solution I see for the Nationalist Party is Marlene Farrugia. She must re-consider her position. There really is nobody else.

    Marlene is the fighter, this country needs otherwise as one Labour supporter put it: ‘ Kissirnihom lin-Nazzjonalisti u mkissra jibqghu.”

    Ejja Marlene, get on with it. The country is calling you.

    • Macduff says:

      Call me frivolous, but I’m concerned with her speeches and behaviour. Festa this and festa that, and today she took a selfie drinking beer. And she needs to control her anger.

      And yet, she’s a self-made person who always went for the jugular, which I think is how she was elected from the tenth district.

    • Steve C. Miller says:

      She’s good and principled but I cannot see her as leader material. She’s too much of a loose cannon, albeit well intentioned.

      I’d like to see Jean Pierre Debono step up. He is at once a party man but completely new blood, open minded and liberal enough but still guided by core values. Delia is but an opportunistic power-grabber.

  3. L-argument says:

    Give the man a chance to run the election,can’t you see something good in this man.

  4. Beingpressed says:

    Why doesn’t someone spill the beans and bring the whole system down!

    • Me says:

      I have been waiting for that moment from the very instant I read : “BREAKING/Egrant document shows Michelle Muscat’s name”.

      I am one of those believing that if “somehow” that evidence was leaked publicly, before the election, it would have brought havoc.

  5. I have explained myself more than sufficiently. I never root for any candidate, and never comment publicly either. But when a candidate presents himself who is both dangerous and stands a good chance of being elected, then it is my responsibility to comment.

    I would have done the same had John Dalli stood a chance against Lawrence Gonzi. But I knew that he didn’t, so it was unnecessary for me to say anything.

    You are free to like him and root for him, but the mistake you’re making here is in thinking that paid-up members of the Nationalist Party will decide the outcome of the general election in 2022, and not just the outcome of the party leadership election.

    The views of paid-up members of the Nationalist Party are crucial in deciding who will become party leader. But it is people like me, who are not paid up members of the Nationalist Party, who will get to decide whether Adrian Delia becomes prime minister in 2022. The paid-up members of the Nationalist Party will vote Nationalist whoever becomes leader.

    I find it fascinating that the minute I express an opinion against a PN leadership candidate, the ‘tesserati’ come out with guns blazing to say that I don’t count anyway, because it’s not ‘my party’ and I’m not a member.

    The lack of clarity in thinking is appalling and fully illustrates why the party is in its current mess. The views of party members just don’t count. It’s the views of all us other people which count in general elections. The views of party members count only insofar as they might inflict on the party somebody who the rest of us don’t want to vote for in five years’ time.

    You can accuse me of many things, but the failure to think clearly is not one of them.

    • Me says:

      I too, am a “tesserat” but I am with you all the way on this matter, though I admit that I am still confused on “who else” ? Tragically, I cannot pinpoint a clear and obvious name in my mind.

  6. Gee Mike says:

    To me it looks like the Labour Party wants to take over the Nationalist Party.

    The Nationalist Party had better clean its house of all the Labour plants and moles first, because it seems to me that Labour knows a lot of what is happening within the walls of the PN HQ.

  7. No, it’s not obvious. In fact he has said at the outset that he will keep his seat in parliament. And he should, because people in two constituencies voted for him and nobody voted for Delia.

  8. Roberta Metsola has ruled herself out already.

  9. Oh right, because sane people go back to what they left, as though the in between never happened at all. Hallini, tridx.

  10. I never express an opinion on these matters. And that should show you just how strongly I feel against Adrian Delia.

  11. Well, I tend to be the kind of person who thinks that, in politics, you should never create a problem unless you have already planned the solution.

    I would never countenance a situation in which you elect somebody without a seat in the house and say “imbaghad naraw”.

  12. No, I don’t know it – because there is no track record of case history in my lifetime, which is exactly what I have written in the post above, had you but bothered to read it.

    So what are you referring to, exactly?

  13. Who is ‘Simon’ and why on earth would he want to do that. There is no European Parliament election next year, and in any case, Delia would need his seat by October at the latest, unless he plans on having parliament open without an Opposition leader.

    • Me says:

      I think Major Tom means that she will get what she originally preferred after all, and vacate her seat. Technically, by that time she would have given up her MEP seat, but I think this is what the David Bowie fan (good choice) meant.

  14. The other day I read the OECD’s PISA rankings for Malta. I was negatively impressed by how low Malta ranks for literacy. In the PISA rankings, literacy is not defined as the ability to read words, but as the ability to read texts and extract embedded information.

    I read comments like yours and I am not surprised at that ranking. You have either not read my post, in which case why are you commenting on it, or you have read it and failed to extract even the information which is overt and not embedded.

    • Anthony T. Borg says:

      It’s obvious at least to me: many, and I mean many, just read the title of an article and rush to comment.

  15. And you know that for a fact, do you.

  16. Why would somebody who has been Opposition leader want to go back to being an ordinary member of the European Parliament. That’s Alfred Sant territory. If anything he should stay on as a member of the national parliament, which is far more prestigious than being a member of the European Parliament.

    Only Maltese people think it is LESS prestigious, because Maltese people – like all basic societies – link prestige to pay.

    • Sonic says:

      Quite right but keep in mind that in the European Parliament Dr Busuttil will again be dealing with sane people unlike in here.

  17. Oh, I think she can. I reserve judgement on whether she was taken in by Muscat or not. I happen to think that she wasn’t.

  18. Nothing. You’d know about it already if I did.

    • Evaristsammut says:

      So why are you opposing him with such tenacity? We have only observed you do this when something serious is afoot.

      • Oh, haven’t you realised that something serious is afoot? There is a corrupt government in power and a decimated Opposition which is running the real risk of electing a leader who will keep that corrupt government in power for another five or 10 years after that.

        You know, I never did fully realise that Maltese society is closer to American (south and north, minus Canada) society than it is to European.

  19. The roles of party leader and Opposition leader are inseparable. When Simon Busuttil ceases to be party leader he ceases to be Opposition leader.

    He can’t choose to remain Opposition leader when he is not party leader. We are talking here about giving up his SEAT not his Constitutional role.

  20. Beingpressed says:

    So like for like this the same recruitment policy as Joseph Muscat. Who knows possibly the same employer.

  21. Peter Vella says:

    Simon Busuttil had already indicated that he might resign his seat in parliament after a new leader is chosen. I think this is what Delia is referring to.

  22. Galeforce says:

    Am I paranoid or what? This blog is getting infested by Labour trolls of the sort that are currently squatting on the closed Facebook pages of supposed Nationalists, trying to pass off as Nationalists out to give good advice re the leadership race.

    Funny how all of them are rooting for Delia and , in true Beddingfield-blog fashion blaming you for the latest electoral defeat.

    • Those ‘closed Facebook groups’ in which Nationalist supporters (many of whom I know) discuss what should be done are pathetic. Are they insane or what? Screenshots are taken of whatever they write and WhatsApped around. They must be totally nuts. Their lack of discretion or strategic thinking (step 1: say nothing to anyone about anything) is absolute.

      They all need to hang those World War II posters on their walls: LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS. Injoranti tal-biza.

  23. lest we forget says:

    Jekk l-iskandli li gew irrapportati qabel l-elezzjoni ma jinkixfux u l-gustizzja ssir, jinhatar min jinhatar bhala kap tal-Oppozizzjoni, it-telfa tkun ikbar.

    Jinhtieg li l-ewwel u qabel kollox tissolva din il-problema ghaliex id-dubji ghandhom hemm u wisq nibza li kollox ghal taht it-tapit bhal ma gara fil-kaz ta’ Lorry Sant.

  24. I have lots of personal biases. It doesn’t stop me thinking clearly. In fact, most of those personal biases come after a period of clear thought about a situation or person. Biases with a sound and rational basis are good, not bad. Irrational biases, I’ll admit, are very bad.

  25. U jien ghandi dritt – anzi, dover – li nghid li mhux sura u lanqas kapaci jkun mexxej tal-Oppozizzjoni, u li l-Partit Nazzjonalista u l-poplu Malta jixraqlu hafna ahjar.

  26. What worries me most is that Adrian Delia appeals to the wrong kind of people, and repulses the right kind of people. I’ve already picked up on that and it’s going to be a massive problem.

  27. It’s a problem when you’re talking to people who know nothing about the business network.

  28. Roger Hunt says:

    Isn’t this stupid and frivolous? Politics should be about leadership and not about the social whirl, crass self-interest and wannabes on an ego trip.

    Am I right in perceiving this guy as a calculating opportunist who was simply biding his time (judging by his total prior absence when others had been slaving away for the Nationalist Party for years) before making a bid directly for the top post?

    Being a parochial Valletta lawyer may impress some, but is there any depth, any vision or inspiring leadership? The answer is No.

  29. lest we forget says:

    Who said that someone like Delia is the right person? On the contrary I would like to see a person with Dr. Busutill’s qualities but better a fighter possible even sometimes arrogant as you have to fight fire with fire and not with soft-spoken words.

  30. Yes, but I don’t think she was.

  31. I know. Well, it’s what I always say: that Malta’s most dim-witted people are actually in my particular demographic. It must be inbreeding or something.

  32. I can’t see Demarco giving up his seat. He refused to give it up a few months ago, when he caused a scandal and should have done so.

    As I told him myself on the phone – which is why I am comfortable saying it here – he uses his seat in the Opposition to attract clients for his law firm, who wouldn’t bother going to him (or to his brother-in-law’s firm) otherwise.

    People in big business, particularly when their projects are controversial, like to have a hostage in the Opposition as well as a fixer in government.

    Why, Mario Demarco’s firm even listed Keith Schembri’s businesses among its clients. At that point, you have to say that only God can help the Nationalist Party.

  33. You’re dealing with a web that goes far deeper than party politics. Few people know the extent of the problems Eddie Fenech Adami had with his father. As a journalist, I know just a fraction.

  34. Oh really? Then what will his comparative advantage be in attracting clients to his law firm? Would Silvio Debono need Mario Demarco the run-of-the-mill Valletta lawyer? No, he needs Mario Demarco the deputy leader of the Opposition, or Mario Demarco the member of parliament.

    I wonder whether he’d still be willing to pay Francis Zammit Dimech, if Zammit Dimech hadn’t resigned his brief under pressure a few months ago.

  35. No, not at all. Ask him: he’ll tell you that he has never met me in his entire life, even though his law partner was an old friend.

    • Malteser says:

      I cannot ask him as I do not know him either. But the man is quite convincing, though it will take him more than five years to implement all his ideas. Mill-kliem ghall-fatti hemm bahar jikkumbatti. U l-bahhar qawwi tassew.

  36. Yes, but unfortunately Dr Gonzi was like Plasticene where he should not have been (John Dalli, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, Franco Debono) and not like Plasticene where he should have been (divorce).

  37. It’s not up to him. He was directly elected and not in a casual election. That means if he cedes his seat, there will be a casual election not a co-option. For a co-option to take place, all those candidates who followed him on the ballot sheet, and who are contenders for a casual election, will have to pull out.

  38. What would women gossiping at the supermarket (one step up from the grocer) know about anything. People will children and spouses (or the equivalent) do not take unilateral decisions.

  39. Ezatt. Military campaigning the old way: the general is out in front, and not in a control room pushing red buttons to kill people a few thousand miles away.

    Dan iehor li he has to eat, God bless him. Sieheb ta’ Mario Demarco: I’m there with my bank account frozen solid by the Labour Party’s deputy leader, and the Nationalist Party’s deputy leader tells me that he took Silvio Debono’s brief because he has to eat.

    It’s hard to resist the temptation not to send the lot of them to hell and have done with it. Qabda korrotti.

  40. I agree with you on all of this, except for the use of the word ‘snob’. Aside from the fact that I really can’t stand the way it is used in Malta, which reveals a personal chip in the individual who uses it and who feels snubbed (which they usually describe as ‘snobbed’), Adrian Delia is not in a position to be any such thing because his social background is extremely ordinary. And I’m being polite here.

  41. Why should it make a difference to you whether Simon Busuttil stands for election to the European Parliament? I know it makes a difference to him, but that’s his business, not mine.

    No, it has nothing to do with respect. On the contrary, respect means allowing him to make his personal choices alone and in privacy. He’s done enough as it is.

    • Martin Zammit says:

      If I didn’t care about the identity of MEPs, I wouldn’t bother voting in the first place.

  42. Franġiska says:

    Mhux li kien jisma’ minnek u minn dawk il-ħafna li qed jgħidu l-istess. Għalkemm ngħid waħda din tal-gay marriages m’għoġbitni xejn. Nibdlu l-valuri għax inkella nibqgħu fl-oppożizzjoni. M’għandux ikun il-każ, il-valuri , ma nibdluhom qatt u għalxejn.

  43. Looks like you’re from the budget end of the troll service.

  44. Franco Debono says:

    Ma jeżisti l-ebda mekkaniżmu fejn deputat iċedi s-siġġu tieghu lil xi haddiehor.
    Jekk deputat jirriżenja mil-Parlament trid issir by-election. Delia ma kienx kandidat fl-ahhar elezzjoni u allura ma jipartecipax.
    Irid ma jikkontesta hadd f’dik l-by-election biex tista ssir co-option u ma hemm l-ebda garazja li l-partit se jikoptja bniedem li qatt ma kien fil-partit hlief tesserat.
    Meta gie co-opted Joseph Muscat kien ilu fil-Labour qrib ghoxrin sena u kien diġà MEP li kien gab aktar minn 50,000 vot fl-elezzjoni ta qabel.
    Jekk ghal-grazzja tal-argument jirriżenja Mario Demarco issir by-election u probabbli titla Paula Mifsud Bonnici u l-istorja tieqaf hemm.

  45. Roger Hunt says:

    “He is a typical money-grabbing lawyer”

    I have never been anywhere near his office, but I met an irate client of his who applied for a bank loan and the dottore apparently spoke to bank management to help the process along.

    When the loan was approved, he charged the client a “success fee”, reinforcing the view in the client’s mind that every opportunity is taken to make money for the flimsiest of reasons. Frankly, I would be embarrassed to fleece clients in that way.

  46. You would be surprised. Many men pay for that kind of thing. There is a whole industry built up around it.

  47. Strong leader? He looks like a wimp to me. If there was a cat down a well and only Delia and me around, I have no doubt who’d be the one having to climb down for it, while he posed for photographs and sent a bill.

    • FCB says:

      You obviously don’t know the guy!
      Just keep at it!
      It seems you teamed up with your friend for this battle, sort of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, but both of you together are the best testimonial Adrian Delia can get!

      • Sorry to burst your bubble, but I never back leadership candidates or object to them.

        In this case, however, I have got to make an exception. The Nationalist Party is a sitting duck to be taken over by unsavoury characters in its current state.

  48. FCB says:

    Yes there is…the ones like you hiding behind a keyboard

  49. What a Laburist/a.

    Amazing how all the Labour trolls are out in force, either pushing Adrian Delia for PN leader, or more tellingly, failing to rip him to shreds.

    You probably think the people on here are the kind of Nationalist Party idiots who squabble naively in ‘closed’ Facebook groups and who demonstrate how highly susceptible they are to Labour messaging and how they internalise Labour propaganda.

    You’re in the wrong place. Get out and stay there.

  50. If Adrian Delia smells like a fighter, then that smell is very faint. A football brawl perhaps, but nothing that will involve him risking having his family targeted or his financial status demolished.

  51. I’m sorry, but how does that qualify as a “mechanism”?

    A mechanism is something which comes into play automatically. What you describe – co-option after forcing or persuading one of five people who have been elected through a casual election to give up their seat just for the hell of it is not a ‘mechanism’ but a desperate solution that depends on bullying one of those five MPs into submission.

  52. I have met neither of them that I can recall. But I rather suspect that is an advantage.

    Purely on a note of personal advice: it doesn’t help Dr Delia that his supporters, like his wife, seem largely unable to construct a sentence that isn’t hyper-emotional, slightly cuckoo, terribly immature, and decorated with emoticons and exclamation marks.

    It creates the impression that he appeals to the sort of people who got sucked into the Da Vinci Code.

  53. How ridiculous you are (and I don’t apologise for saying that). The quintessential point that Adrian Delia makes, as justification for doing f*ck-all in politics until now, is that he wanted to make lots of money and support his family. Now that he has made his money (but still has to support his family, because his wife – as you can see from all the rubbish she posts on Facebook, doesn’t work), he has heard a calling like Moses, to lead us through the desert.

    What is he going to live off? The Opposition leader’s salary?

    This is like Keith Schembri saying that he ‘divested’ himself of his shares and directorships, only for us to find that the shares and directorships are held by his wife, his father and his money-laundering associate Malcolm Scerri.

    You’re pretty cracked and desperate if you’re looking to a Valletta lawyer who knows jack about politics to rescue you “from this nightmare”.

    What do you see as the nightmare, anyway – the government, the state of the country, or the situation in the Nationalist Party? Because with your tunnel-vision, I strongly suspect it’s the last.

  54. I don’t know him from Adam, actually.

    And your childish retorts and infantile arguments are doing him no favours.

    • FCB says:

      You certainly did no favours to Simon Busuttil and the party…just look at the mess we are in right now!

      • Get your head examined and a few lessons in European democracy. What does a political commentator and journalist have to do with a political party?

        Take a sabbatical, immerse yourself in life in a European capital, read widely, read newspapers that are not published in Malta, and above all, grow up.

  55. If he is the man for you, you can marry him, sleep with him, or work for him – or just pick him as a friend. But don’t try to inflict him on the Opposition, because right now, what the Opposition needs is somebody smarter and more ruthless (but honest) than Joseph Muscat. And somebody dumber and about as greedy is just not going to cut it.

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