The Malta Independent 21 November 2018, Wednesday

Francis Zammit Dimech elected to European Parliament, replaces Comodini Cachia as MEP

Gabriel Schembri Tuesday, 18 July 2017, 10:14 Last update: about 2 years ago

Former Nationalist Party MP Francis Zammit Dimech will be taking up the seat vacated by Therese Comodini Cachia at the European Parliament following a casual election which took place on Tuesday.

Zammit Dimech was elected with a total of 15,455 votes. He managed to beat Norman Vella who managed to gain up 13,013, Ray Bugeja, Kevin Cutajar, Jonathan Shaw and Helga Ellul who were possible candidates eyeing the European seat.

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In comments to the media, the former MP thanked all those who voted for him and thanked Therese Comodini Cachia for her work as an MEP. 

"Thanks to all those who voted for me and trusted me, now I can serve the Maltese public in the European Parliament. I also thank Therese Comodini Cachia who will now be assuming new responsibilities here in the national parliament."

Zammit Dimech described this election as a new chapter. "This is a new phase for my political life. It is a role I am willing to carry out with determination, enthusiasm and with a sense of service to the public."

"I look forward to work with our colleagues at the European Parliament, especially my PN colleagues Roberta Metsola and David Casa."

Asked whether, being a senior politician, he believes this will be the last step in his political career, Zammit Dimech said that it is hard to say yes or no. He said that when one still has the energy and commitment to work, they should answer to the call of the public. "With experience I've learned that it's hard to say which chapter in your political life will be the last. The important thing is that one moves from one chapter to another feeling youthful and full of energy on the inside, irrespective of this age."

This casual election attracted six candidates who wanted to grab the vacated seat, which among other things, carries a very good annual salary. Raymond Bugeja, who contested the last general election and a PN leadership race which saw Simon Busuttil winner, was eliminated in the third count. Candidates Helga Ellul, Jonathan Shaw and Kevin Cutajar were also eliminated at an early stage. The race was between TV presenter Norman Vella and Francis Zammit Dimech. But with each count, the distance between the two grew further with Zammit Dimech emerging victorious.

There Comodini Cachia vacated her seat in the European Parliament following this last general election when the former MEP was elected in the local House of Representatives. Within hours of her election, Comodini Cachia had told The Malta Independent that she intended to reject her local parliamentary seat. With the public expressing anger at Comodini Cachia's decision, the MEP decided to bend to the will of the electorate and serve in the local parliament. 

Adrian Delia and Chris Said, the two PN leadership hopefuls, visited the counting hall in Naxxar. 

PN Leader Simon Busuttil congratulated Zammit Dimech on his victory, and so did MP Comodini Cachia, both on social media.

Comodini Cachia had been the last candidate to be elected in the 2014 election with 29,580 votes, without reaching the quota. Her votes were distributed among the six contesting candidates.

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