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

The Malta Independent on Sunday - - DEBATE & ANALYSIS -

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.