PN deputy leader Robert Arrigo has urged Bernard Grech to withdraw from the party leadership race, stating he will offer him his own position as second-in-command if he does so.
Interviewed on F Living last Thursday, Arrigo said it isn’t too late to stop the leadership election process, which he warned risks damaging the party.
“It’s never too late to stop an election, except for the due diligence process which must continue so we can see who the two men [Adrian Delia and Bernard Grech] truly are,” he said. “My interest is and has always been the party’s best interests.”
Arrigo compared the party’s situation to the years preceding the 2013 election, when some surveys showed the then PN government was set to lose the upcoming general election by up to 60,000 votes.
“Simon Busuttil was brought over from Brussels and appointed deputy leader and the gap narrowed,” he said. “The gap [around 35,000 votes] was still large, but imagine if it was 60,000 votes… Labour would have had a two-thirds majority in Parliament.”
“It’s worked in the past so let’s do the same now. I’m not interested in my seat or my cushion, I only care about the party and we’re not doing well right now.”
He confidently claimed that the PN will stand a fighting chance at the next general election if Delia remains leader and Grech agrees to become his second-in-command.
“We all make mistakes, but let’s see what points we can score as a team,” he said. “If we’re in this together, we’ll give Labour a hard time and perhaps even win. I want to blow the whistle on this process by offering up the seat the people gave me.”
Arrigo had announced his resignation last February, accusing Delia’s internal critics of wanting to destroy the party, but he changed his mind when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Grech and Delia are set to face each other in an election among PN paid-up members in a few weeks’ time. Although Grech is a complete political outsider, surveys released show far place him as the favourite.