Five months into his PN leadership Adrian Delia has reshuffled his shadow cabinet in a clear attempt to leave his imprint on the party. In a bold move, Delia has nominated himself as shadow justice minister.
Delia’s predecessor Simon Busuttil will retain a frontbench role and be handed an unprecedented portfolio; good governance.
Among the most prominent changes, Delia handed Jason Azzopardi the environment portfolio. This is being viewed by party insiders as a demotion for the tireless Paola MP, who for the past five years has been a relentless critic of the Labour administration.
Having covered the justice and home affairs portfolio and a firm critic of the Labour governance record, the shift to the environment portfolio comes as a surprise.
PN sources told the Shift that while the environment is one of the Labour government’s weaknesses, Delia deems Azzopardi’s hard-line stance on corruption as too negative.
New Pn deputy leaders Robert Arrigo and David Agius will respectively shadow tourism and energy.
Claudette Buttigieg has been handed the equal rights, civil liberties and citizen rights portfolio while PN whip Robert Cutajar will be responsible for local councils and EU funds.
Chris Said who was defeated by Delia in the leadership race has been confirmed as the party’s shadow minister for Gozo.
Karol Aquilina, one of six ‘rebel’ MPs who disagreed with the motion put forward by their own party to strike down a law that granted people undergoing IVF treatment 100 hours of leave, is expected to be handed the citizenship and bureaucratic simplification portfolio.
Former deputy leader Mario de Marco has been confirmed as shadow finance minister while Beppe Fenech Adami kept his home affairs portfolio.
Delia loyalist Hermann Schiavone has been named party spokesman for social dialogue while another of the PN leader’s strongest supporters, Kristy Debono, will oversee the economy portfolio. Conservative MP Edwin Vassallo will be responsible for SMEs.
Claudio Grech is the new shadow minister for social policy.
Clyde Puli has also been handed a new portfolio with the stauch Delia supporter shadowing education while Gozitan MP Frederick Azzopardi will shadow education and social affairs in Gozo.
Former education spokesperson Therese Comodini Cachia has taken over Puli’s former responsibilities and will shadow media, culture and national identity.
Ryan Callus, the PN’s representative on the Planning Authority, will shadow the Lands Authority while Carm Mifsud Bonnici whas been confirmed as spokesperson on foreign affairs.
Family doctor Stephen Spiteri has been named as shadow health minister while Toni Bezzina who missed out on the PN deputy leadership is to shadow transport.
Former shadow transport minister Marthese Portelli has been given the task to shadow the planning portfolio.
The new MP from Gozo David Stellini has been made European Affairs and Brexit spokesperson while fellow newcomer Ivan Bartolo will be responsible for housing, poverty and social exclusion.
Former Naxxar mayor Maria Deguara is the new spokesperson for active aging, disability and the fight against addiction while veteran MP Mario Galea is responsible for mental health, dementia, community-based care, diabetes and animal rights.
Karl Gouder is now the PN’s spokesperson for employment and industrial relations.