The Malta Independent 18 July 2024, Thursday
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Birkirkara deadlocked as independent candidate wins a seat

Thursday, 13 June 2024, 21:52 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Birkirkara local council is yet another council in this election which has ended up deadlocked due to an independent candidate getting elected.

Kaylocke Buhagiar won 999 votes to get elected on the first count in the locality – which elects 13 councillors – while the Labour Party and the Nationalist Party won six seats each, meaning that neither have a seat majority.

The locality had been in the PL’s hands ever since 2013 but was billed as a battleground locality this year amidst the PN’s improved performance in the European Parliament elections.

The PN was the biggest political party in the election, achieving 6,021 votes – equivalent to 47.51%, while the PL lost over 1,600 votes when compared to the 2019 elections to have a vote share of just 41.66%.

Buhagiar – who served on the council over the last five years as a PL councillor – scooped up 999 first count votes, while ADPD candidate Mark Zerafa picked up 258 votes (2.04%) and Partit Popolari candidate Frans Mallia picked up (0.91%).

Yana Borg Debono Grech – the daughter of outgoing mayor Joanne Debono Grech – was the most popular candidate for the PL with 1,805 votes, followed by Alfred Attard with 979 votes.

For the PN meanwhile, Desirei Grech was the most popular candidate with 1,802 votes, followed by Maurizio Gauci with 1,661 votes.

The remaining candidates to be elected into the council were Gilmour Borg, Rosette Cassar, Karl Cutajar and Stefano Sicari for the PL; and Antoine Attard, Jade England, Luke Vella, and Marie Claire Zammit Bonello for the PN.

It is unclear thus far who will lead the council, and it is a matter to be decided at the first council meeting.  Independent councillor Buhagiar will hold the key, and he was held aloft by PL supporters when the result became clear.

Speaking to the press immediately after being elected, Buhagiar called for unity within the locality as he refused to confirm whether he would take up the large town’s mayorship.

Buhagiar stated that after these emerging results, he shall speak to his elected colleagues to discuss who shall be Birkirkara’s mayor for the coming five-year term.

“In these past 11 years, I have always worked with everyone and anyone,” Buhagiar said, “with whoever wanted to work, I have always worked beside them. I will continue to do this, for the good of Birkirkara.”

Buhagiar said that “unity is the main priority” over this coming term, and that the locality’s leadership must be determined through this principle.

“I think we have shown today that Birkirkara will be united over the next five years and that we are going to work to put Birkirkara first,” Buhagiar said.

Birkirkara becomes the fourth local council to be deadlocked due to the election of an independent candidate. Zebbug and Mellieha were deadlocked on Wednesday, while Gharb was also deadlocked on Thursday.

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