When an incumbent leader of our main political parties offers to have an open challenge to his leadership, he is simply pulling our leg and the best answer is: pull the other one too, please.
The culture in both main political parties is such that anyone who does not defer totally to the leader, anyone who dares to openly disagree, would compromise his or her political career.
I learnt that the hard way. For as long as I was not a political candidate I was a trusted political adviser to Alfred Sant and I could speak my mind and disagree where it was necessary to disagree, with respect but with conviction. Then suddenly, when against my best judgment, I succumbed to pressure to become an electoral candidate, our relationship changed. Disagreements were considered as a sign of disloyalty, no longer as objective good advice.
The PN expertly made sure to destroy my nascent political career by suggesting that my arguments made more sense than those of the Leader and openly inferred that I had what it takes to challenge for leadership.
That was the end of it!
Anyone who dares to challenge for leadership a sitting incumbent, even the mere inference thereto by a vicious third party, could just as well sign a political suicide note.
And anyone who dares challenge Gonzi's leadership can just as well look for a job outside politics.
Gonzi got rid of the two main contenders for his leadership of the PN when Fenech Adami left an empty throne. Just imagine what fate awaits anyone who challenges his throne on which he remains sitting even whilst the supposed contest goes on.
Pull the other one too, please. This is just a time gaining, or time wasting, tactic.