Azzopardi, Aquilina will contest casual elections for ninth, tenth districts

Former Nationalist MPs Jason Azzopardi and Karol Aquilina will throw their hats in the ring for the casual elections after failing to get elected

Jason Azzopardi and Karol Aquilina
Jason Azzopardi and Karol Aquilina

Former Nationalist MPs Jason Azzopardi and Karol Aquilina will be contesting casual elections on the ninth, and tenth districts respectively in a bid to regain their seat in the House.

The two MPs were left out of the House even after having spent the last five years at the forefront of the Nationalist Party’s anti-corruption battle-cry as vocal critics of the Labour administration as well as of former PN leader Adrian Delia.

Aquilina garnered 931 and 403 first-count votes in the 10th and 9th districts, while Azzopardi got 546 first-count votes in the 9th district – both constituencies tend to be stereotyped as Nationalist strongholds in the more affluent coastal towns of Sliema, St Julian’s, Swieqi and Ta’ Xbiex.

And while the two MPs were left out of the House, the former PN leader they fought to oust in a backbench rebellion – Adrian Delia – managed to get elected on two districts. Delia’s former deputy leader for party affairs, Robert Arrigo, was also elected on both the 9th and 10th.

Azzopardi and Aquilina will be able to contest the 9th district for two seats vacated by Arrigo and new PN heavyweight Joe Giglio; and Aquilina the 10th district seat vacated by Mark Anthony Sammut – the newcomer MP who won election on Azzopardi’s home constituency of Paola and Tarxien (fourth district).

“I know the probability of me getting elected on the ninth district is low, but out of my respect for voters I will throw my hat in the ring, and even though I am realistic and know chances are slim,” Azzopardi said on Facebook.

He thanked all those whom he said “literally risked everything and worked against opposing forces to deliver the PN’s message.”

He thanked fourth district voters who lent him their support since 1998, while congratulating Mark Anthony Sammut for getting elected for the first time on that district.  “I am certain you will be representing the fourth district with dignity,” he said.

Karol Aquilina said he would contest casual elections in both the 9th and 10th districts.

“Like the rest of my Nationalist Party colleagues, I am very disappointed by the election result. At a personal level, I am immensely satisfied that I won three times as many votes on the 10th district as I did in 2017,” Aquilina said, who garnered 343 first-count preferences in 2017, and now 931 first-count votes.