Malta goes to the polls, Labour Party expected to win a third mandate
LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Malta is voting today to decide which political party will rule the country for the next five years. Voters started casting their votes across the country as polling stations opened at 7am and will close at 10pm. The President of Malta George Vella and his wife Miriam casted their vote in ?ejtun late on Saturday morning. Maltese Prime Minister and Labour Party Leader Robert Abela together with his wife Lydia voted earlier in Marsascala. Abela did not give any comments to the journalists. The Leader of the Opposition and Nationalist Party Leader Bernard Grech voted in Mosta. He was accompanied by his wife Annmarie and their two children who also casted their vote. In a brief comment to the journalists, Grech thanked all voters who will be participating in the democratic process, and said he hoped that election officials carry out their duties diligently to guarantee a “free and fair” election and ensure there is no repeat of the irregularities which took place last week in the early voting in prison. “It is important to have a fair election to allow the people to vote serenely for the next government.” The centre-right party leader added that voters who want to see change have the opportunity to vote the Nationalist Party. 16 and 17 year olds are allowed to vote for the first time, taking the number of eligible voters from 341,856 in 2017 to 355,075. More than 14,000 voting documents were not collected, and this point towards a lower turnout than previous elections. Polls have indicated that the turnout will be around 88%, which would be the lowest since 1955.
Malta will make use of an electronic counting system for the first time. This means that the winner will be declared on Sunday morning with the official results expected to be published later in the evening.
The final polls published ahead of today’s vote predict the Labour Party will win a third consecutive mandate despite a series of scandals but thanks to the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and the financial support to businesses. A majority of between 26,000 and 39,000 votes is expected in favour of the Labour Party but this will depend on the turnout and the number of valid votes cast.
This is the first general election for the Labour Party with Robert Abela as its leader. He was appointed Prime Minister in January 2020, succeeding Joseph Muscat who resigned after the arrest of businessman Yorgen Fenech, accused as the mastermind in the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in October, 2017.