The Malta Independent 18 September 2021, Saturday

Malta Elects all five MEPs

Malta Independent Wednesday, 16 June 2004, 00:00 Last update: about 8 years ago

Dr Busuttil was the first to be elected, when polled more than the needed amount of votes on the first count. The number of voters who gave Dr Busuttil their first preference were close to 59,000. MLP’s Joseph Muscat was the next to be elected on Monday evening. He got a total of 41,984 votes in the 10th count, 1,030 votes more than the quota he needed to be elected to office. Between Monday and yesterday night, there were a number of developments which had not been predicted. Firstly, Glenn Bedingfield and Joe Debono Grech were both eliminated from the race even though they had received many votes when Owen Bonnici was eliminated and his votes were transferred.

Mr Debono Grech was eliminated on the 13th count with 22,959 votes. Mr Bedingfield increased his votes from 14,410 in the ninth count to 21,978 in the 14th count before being eliminated. The votes of Mr Bedingfield and Mr Debono Grech were transferred to John Attard Montalto who was elected on the 15th count with 45,732 votes.

Dr Attard Montalto’s 4,778 surplus votes were transferred to candidates who got other preferences. This process led to the election of former Air Malta chairman Louis Grech who had 38,173 at the 18th count (the last count). He was elected without reaching the quota because even though he had not reached the required 40,954 votes, he was the remaining candidate with the largest number of votes. He was followed by Alternattiva Demokratika’s Arnold Cassola who at the 18th count had 29,013 votes.

The most remarkable of all developments nearly took place in the early hours yesterday morning on the 13th count. On the 12th count, PN candidate Joanna Drake had 18,122. On the following count, after PN candidate Joe Friggieri was eliminated with 12,113 votes, Ms Drake inherited most of these votes. In this count, her number of votes rose to 24,094.

At this count Professor Cassola’s number of votes stood at 25,100. This meant that Ms Drake had only 1,006 votes less that Prof. Cassola, who would have been eliminated and his votes transferred to other candidates. These would have most probably been inherited by Ms Drake who could have possibly snatched the third seat from the MLP. However, this did not take place and it was Ms Drake who was eventually eliminated because she had fewer votes than Prof. Cassola. Speaking to journalists upon being elected, David Casa thanked all those people who helped him and the party achieve this result. “I am proud that I was given this opportunity. It is a historical moment for the country. The PN always believed in this European institution. I hope that we will all work in the national interest. One of my priorities will surely be the social aspect but I still have to sit

down and discuss with Simon (Busuttil) what our priorities are going to be,” he said.

Asked whether he could see PN and MLP MEPs working together in the national interest, Mr Casa said he will ensure that MEPs from both political parties will really work in the best interest of the country. Louis Grech said this was the first time he had contested an election and thanked all those people who supported him, especially the MLP council. He said now was the time to get to work in the best interest of Malta. When asked by Net TV how he felt about being elected to an institution for which he had voted against, Mr Grech said that at the time he felt it was not the right time for Malta to join the European Union but now everyone had to work in the national interest. In his first comments, Dr Attard Montalto said he was wrapping up his political career in Malta on a high note by being elected as Malta’s representative in the EP. He said he was extremely pleased that the Maltese electorate expressed their trust in him and added that he will not let them down. Dr Attard Montalto said he had already started getting prepared for his new job. He announced that former No2EU activist Sharon Ellul Bonici will be his full-time personal assistant and representative and will be based in Brussels. Apart from Ms Ellul Bonici, he will also have another person, who remained unnamed, who will man his permanent office in Malta.

He said he was also setting up six offices for every two districts and one for Gozo with a main office in Santa Venera. “The allowances I will be getting will be used efficiently for the party’s work to be facilitated,” he said.

“The MLP has not achieved a majority since 1976 (except for 1996) and the party really needed this result. It is first time in history that Malta elected its MEPs. The electorate is showing that they don’t like the government’s policies and difficult decisions do not have any effect on this. It is not which decisions you take but how you take them.

“I really worked for this result. It was the fifth election I contested in the space of 15 months. I thank the leadership who understood the importance of this election and also all the Labourites who voted for me. I wanted to give the party a victory at the end of my political career,” he said.

The Malta Independent asked him if he thought the MLP and PN MEPs could work together in the national interest. Dr Attard Montalto replied: “At the EP, the MLP has the majority of seats so it is us who will ask the PN MEPs to work with us in the national interest and not vice versa. We invite them to work with us and not we work with them. They must realise that they do not have the majority in the EP. Come with us and work for the country. We are three and you are two. Come with us and work because the country comes first and foremost,” he said.

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