In a statement issued by the Office of the President this afternoon President George Vella confirmed that he will not be removing Adrian Delia from the Leader of the Opposition. At the same time, the President confirmed that after meeting with the entire Opposition Parliamentary Group, he had established that Delia no longer enjoyed the majority of support. However, he added that Delia could not be removed from the post of Leader of the Opposition because such a post should be held by the leader of the party with the greatest numerical opposition to the Government.
The President added that out of his meetings with Members of the Opposition, 16 of them stated that they did not trust Delia as Leader of the Opposition. At the same time there were 11 who stressed that they trusted him, while another Member of Parliament abstained. The President of the Republic reiterated that in case Delia is removed from the Leader of the Opposition, the question immediately arises as to who will be filling the vacant post. Vella said that on the other hand the constitution indicates that there should be a Leader of the Opposition at all times and therefore this constitutional post cannot be left vacant, at least for a long period.
At the same time, the President stressed that the constitution clearly indicates that the Leader of the Opposition should be the leader of a political party that has the largest numerical opposition to the Government. “The dilemma lies between following the word of the Constitution and thus creating a situation that is unconstitutional or considering the current situation as special and adopting special measures,” the President stressed.
He reiterated that therefore in his judgment despite the fact that Delia has lost the support of the largest single group of MPs in Opposition to the government, in order for the role of Leader of the Opposition not to remain vacant, Delia should not be removed from office as he still enjoys the position of Leader of this largest opposition party.
At the same time, he reiterated that this decision does not stifle the continuation of a healthy discussion on what measures can be taken to correct this situation. President Vella concluded by saying that the need for continuity in the functioning of our parliamentary system justifies the need to depart from the written word of the Constitution.
“I am aware and feel the obligation and responsibility to safeguard stability and continuity in the country,” said Vella.