Division seems to be the PN’s DNA
It’s open warfare, it is reported, over at the Stamperija. Committees are being ordered by text or phone messages to come up with a statement affirming total trust in Adrian Delia, with most complying. Those ordering these statements of loyalty probably d
Or a repeat of Stalin’s Great Purge. Or Ceausescu’s times. Or anything where the top level is facing a grassroots rebellion. What has been described as a ‘sizeable crowd’ gathered at the party headquarters, as ordered by the core group which had ordered the ‘unanimous’ statements, and sang the party’s battle hymn at the top of their voices.
In doing so, they believed they were representing the PN grassroots much as they thought so two years ago when they elected the new leader. Needless to say, they did not consult the wider electorate then and they did not consult them now.
And also needless to say, they were blowing in the wind. News stories broke that said the majority of PN MPs were against voting confidence in the leader, that the meeting of the parliamentary group has not yet been announced, nor other meetings of the party’s top structures.
Those who organised and oversaw the massive show of confidence, by means of multiple appearances on various media all proclaiming faith in the leader, must have realised the futility of their actions. The showdown is coming and no amount of photocopied statements or massed support will avert it.
Many have expressed extreme dismay at this current state of the party, foreseeing not just a collapse at the May European Parliament election but beyond that too. We might think the next general election is far away but after May it will get nearer and nearer.
Many are seeing a fundamental rift inside the party, a rift that cannot and will not be mended. It does not seem as if Adrian Delia will heed the messages that tell him to resign. And if at some point he will, he may not be allowed to do so by those around him, who stand to lose more than him, were he to go. Nor does it seem as if the amorphous opposition will lay down its arms.
The past months have seen no progress on either side. There was, at most, an armed truce between the two sides with skirmishes breaking out from time to time. The marital problems of Delia, then, did the rest, especially the reprehensible leaking of details from the Delia household. That broke whatever remained of cohesion within the party and put paid to any hope of reconciliation inside the party.
Those who are dismayed at how the once glorious party has been reduced to its current state seem however to have forgotten that division has always been an integral part of the PN. Born after a painful patching together of two separate parties, the more extreme and intransigent one led by Nerik Mizzi and the more moderate one by Ignazio Panzavecchia, the party became a cohesive one that won elections but the Second World War and Italy becoming the enemy put paid to its electoral popularity.
Years later, with the emergence of Dom Mintoff, the party split again between George Borg Olivier and Herbert Ganado because the latter saw the former as too easy on Mintoff. Pushed by the church and then abandoned by it, Ganado remained unreconciled until his party lost the four seats it had gained in 1962.
Later on, the party risked fur- ther splits – first when six of its MPs remained obdurate when Malta became a republic and later on when the successor to Borg Olivier was about to be chosen. But careful management by Eddie Fenech Adami averted any possible splits by Guido de Marco and his supporters.
Since then, and up until now, the party has lived in the pious illusion that splits were a thing of the past.