The Malta Independent 22 August 2019, Thursday

A weekend in review: What Labour won, what the PN lost, and how others fared

Albert Galea Tuesday, 28 May 2019, 07:49 Last update: about 4 months ago

It was a comfortable victory for the Labour Party in last weekend’s MEP elections, with official figures released in the early hours of Sunday morning showing the Joseph Muscat’s governing party secured a 42,656 vote majority over the Nationalist Party.

The gap between the two parties as indicated in the official results is some 9,000 votes lower than the gap that Labour’s last sample from the Naxxar counting hall had indicated and is much closer to their initial projections. 

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In fact, around an hour after the counting started, Labour party agents had gathered from their samples that there was a 45,000-vote gap between the parties.  This estimate was later revised by Joseph Muscat himself, who told a cheering crowd in Hamrun that the gap was actually 48,000, before a third revised estimate was shared by Labour agents on Sunday evening which indicated that there were 51,600 votes between the two parties.

Labour’s majority was enough for the party to win back the fourth seat out of six at the European Parliament, with the PN keeping hold of the other seats. 

Miriam Dalli won the lion’s share of Labour’s first preference votes with a tally of 63,438 – more than enough to be elected on the first count.  Roberta Metsola was also elected on the first count for the PN after she obtained 38,206 first preference votes – just over the quota of 37,174 votes.

Former Labour Prime Minister and incumbent MEP Alfred Sant obtained 26,592 first preference votes and was eventually elected on the 14th count.  Incumbent PN MEP David Casa, who received 20,493 first preference votes,  was elected on the 38th count, and was closely followed by PL’s Alex Agius Saliba and Josianne Cutajar who received 18,808 and 15,603 first preference votes respectively, were both elected on the 39th count.

Neither Agius Saliba nor Cutajar had enough votes to reach the quota, but with only Frank Psaila left in the running by that time, the two PL candidates had gathered enough votes to be elected.  Agius Saliba was elected with 35,823 votes while Cutajar garnered 32,235 votes.  Psaila had, at that point, managed to garner 26,970 votes – meaning that he was 5,265 votes off from winning the last remaining MEP seat from Cutajar.

From the PN candidates who did not get elected, NET TV presenter Frank Psaila performed best with 13,268 first preference votes, followed by Peter Agius with 10,474 and then Francis Zammit Dimech with 5,782.  David Stellini and Michael Briguglio won 3,615 and 3,134 votes respectively, followed by Roselyn Borg Knight with 2,155.  Dione Borg just about exceeded the 1,000 vote mark, while Michael Mercieca could only muster 308 first preference votes.

Meanwhile there was a substantial gap between Labour’s four elected candidates and those who were unsuccessful.  Cyrus Engerer was next in line behind Cutajar, but he obtained over 10,000 less first preference votes and registered 5,394.  James Grech and Josef Caruana got 2,530 and 2,308 votes respectively, followed by Joseph Sammut with 1,747.  Felix Busuttil and Noel Cassar both just about exceeded the 1,000 vote mark, but Lorna Vassallo, Mary Gauci, Robert Micallef, and Fleur Vella all failed to push into four figures with their first preference votes.

Far-right firebrand Norman Lowell’s Imperium Europa meanwhile became the third largest party in Malta after winning 8,238 first preference votes.  This means that Lowell was the ninth most popular candidate in terms of first preference votes and that he obtained 3.17% of the vote – an increase over his previous showings in these elections.

The Democratic Party, contesting their first nationwide election as a stand-alone party, won 5,276 votes which is equal to 2.03%.  Environmentalist and Malta Clean-Up Founder Camilla Appelgren won 3,053 of those votes; almost double that which party leader Godfrey Farrugia won (1,668). PD’s other two candidates – Anthony Busuttil and Martin Cauchi Inglott – managed to leave only a negligible mark, with 306 and 249 votes respectively.

It was a disastrous showing for Alternattiva Demokratika meanwhile as they received only 1,866 votes – equivalent to 0.72% - and suffered the ignominy of being beaten by their own former leader turned independent candidate Arnold Cassola, who garnered 2,127 first preference votes.

Moviment Patrijotti Maltin’s two candidates Simon Borg and Naged Megally meanwhile only managed to gather 771 votes between them, being beaten by Ivan Grech Mintoff and Rebecca Dalli Gonzi who won a total of 1,186 votes under the banner of Alleanza Bidla.

 

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