President decides that Adrian Delia should not be removed as Opposition Leader
President of the Republic George Vella announced that Adrian Delia should remain Opposition Leader so that this role will not remain vacant.
Dr Vella concluded that even if Dr Delia lost the support of the biggest single group of deputies in opposition to the Government, he still enjoys the position of Leader of this biggest party in Opposition.
In a lengthy statement, Dr Vella explained how he took the decision following meetings with Nationalist MPs and consultation with law experts.
During his meetings with deputies, the President confirmed that the vote was taken at the Dar Ċentrali
The President said that two Opposition members, who said they were respresenting their colleagues who no longer had confidence in the Opposition Leader Adrian Delia, told him that he should be stripped off Opposition leadership, according to the Constitution.
Dr Vella stated that they also informed him that these same members had shown confidence in Dr Therese Commodini Cachia, and were presenting her name to he considered to replace Dr Delia as Leader of the Opposition.
“I immediately met Adrian Delia and, after I heard his views and opinions, I informed him that I will hold a series of personal consultations with all of the Opposition’s MPs in order to establish the facts”, the President said.
During these meetings, he added, every Opposition MP, apart from having the opportunity to express his opinion, informed him whether he had confidence in Adrian Delia to remain as Opposition Leader, and if he wanted Therese Commodini Cachia to assume this constitutional post.
He stated that it resulted from this exercise that from the Opposition’s 28 parliamentary members, 16 declared they no longer had confidence in Dr Adrian Delia as Opposition leader, while 11 members declared that they had confidence in Dr Delia. One MP stated that he wanted to abstain.
President says situation creates a legal and constitutional blockade
President Vella referred to various articles and sub-articles of the Constitution, which clearly define the need of an Opposition Leader.
He also quoted a sub-article in the Constitution which says that the role of the Opposition Leader should be given to the Leader of the Party who has the biggest numerical force of members in the Opposition, and specifies that this applies whenever there is the opportunity for the appointment of the Opposition Leader.
He added that what is certain in that in the current case, if it is decided that the current Opposition Leader is removed from the post, whilst he is still Leader of his Party, it will be difficult if not impossible, for him to make use of this proviso.
Dr Vella stated a consideration of another person, in this case a member who becomes Leader in the House of the Opposition Party which has the biggest force in the House, but who is not the Leader of the Opposition Party, one encounters difficulties. “It is clear that this situation creates a legal and constitutional blockade”.
He further stated that if it is decided that the appointment of the current Opposition Leader is cancelled, but it is not possible that this constitutional role is filled according to the law, this will result in a situation where there is no Opposition Leader.
He remarked that the dilemma is whether one follows the word of the Constitution and creates a situation that goes against the Constitution, or that one considers the current situation as a special one and adopts special measures.
President hopes for developments that better clarify the situation
After explaining the legal and constitutional arguments that led him to his decision so that Dr Delia will remain in the post, Dr Vella said that he also kept in mind that any final decision he takes should respect the protection of the democratic and serene environment which one wants to see in Parliament and in the country.
He stated that the situation created by the request to the President is unprecedented. “One hopes that measures are taken, and there will be developments that assist in better clarifying the situation”, the President added.
Dr Vella remarked that such special cases merit a special treatment in which one may invoke the Principle of Necessity, and therefore he feels that it is justifiable that one does not adhere to the written word of the Constitution.