The Malta Independent 13 June 2024, Thursday
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Malta votes to elect EP representatives, local councillors

Sunday, 9 June 2024, 05:43 Last update: about 4 days ago

Malta has voted to elect its representatives at the European Parliament and local council for the next five years.

Voting in the 117 polling stations across Malta and Gozo opened at 7am yesterday and closed 15 hours later, at 10pm.

The counting of the EP votes will take place today, starting at 9am, but the official results are not expected before 11pm. This is in line with European demands as voting has to close in all 27 member states before official results can be released.

But the unofficial results will be known long before then, as party agents will be counting them manually as each vote is shown to them from behind the perspex at the Naxxar counting hall.

If, as expected, the difference between the two parties is large, then it will take less than one hour to determine which party got the highest number of votes and possibly even the margin of victory. If the vote is closer, then it will take a longer time as more samples would be needed.

The counting of the local council election votes will also take place at Naxxar, but not today. The councils have been divided into three batches and the counting process will take place between Wednesday and Friday.

Voter turnout was slightly higher than that of 2019.

Among the political leaders, Prime Minister Robert Abela was the first to cast his vote, in Zejtun, followed by European Parliament President Roberta Metsola in Sliema, Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech in Mosta, and ADPD-The Green Party leader Sandra Gauci in St Paul’s Bay.

According to surveys carried out in the past weeks, Metsola and Labour’s only MEP to contest to retain his seat, Alex Agius Saliba, were the front-runners to be the first past the post.

The remaining four seats will be up for grabs, and while the Labour Party is guaranteed to win three seats and the Nationalist Party two, the sixth seat is still in question. It is possible that, in spite of the difference between the two parties in terms of first preferences, given the way the transferable vote system works, there are still chances that the PN takes its third seat.

There is also a possibility that this seat is won by one of the independent or smaller party candidates. So whether it will be 4-2 for Labour, 3-3, or 3-2-1 remains to be seen.

In 2004, the first EP election, 84.4% of the electorate voted, but this steadily declined in subsequent elections – to 78.8% in 2009, 74.8% in 2014 and 72.7% in 2019.

10% of eligible voters did not collect their voting document for the European Parliament elections, while 24% did not collect their voting document for the Local Council elections.

The number of voters eligible to vote to elect Malta’s six representatives at the European Parliament has dropped to 332,967 from the 370,184 who were eligible. The remaining 37,217 voting documents were not collected.

110,651 voting documents for local council elections, or 24% of eligible voters, remained uncollected. 457,343 voters were eligible to cast their vote in the local council elections.

Although the majority of the voters cast their preference yesterday, a number of others did so previously.

Yesterday week, 14,041 people opted to vote early in the EP election, 87.7 per cent of those who had applied with the commission to be given the opportunity because they were unable to vote yesterday. The same percentage voted for local council elections.

On Tuesday, 88.2% of police officers and assistant electoral commissioners who were duty on Saturday also cast their vote.

On Thursday, two-thirds of those who were eligible to vote did so in hospitals – Mater Dei, Karin Grech, Mount Carmel and Gozo General.

The government has subsidised 854 Maltese citizens to fly on KM Malta Airlines to be in Malta on Saturday.

There are 707 candidates for local council elections, with 476 places available. There are then 39 candidates for the European Parliament, with six seats available.

All other 27 EU states have voted or will be voting today. The Netherlands were the first to start on Thursday, followed by Ireland and the Czech Republic on Friday. Slovakia and Italy, like Malta, voted Saturday, with the Italians also being able to vote today, Sunday.

The main voting day is Sunday, with citizens in 20 European countries, including Germany, France and Poland, casting their ballots for the 720-seat European Parliament.

Seats are allocated based on population, ranging from six in Malta or Luxembourg to 96 in Germany.


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