Current Affairs
How did the situation evolve during today’s vote counting?

The waiting period for the results, which took slightly longer than had been forecast, kicked off from early in the morning, with MP Hermann Schiavone indicating a massive victory for the Labour Party shortly before 8.00 a.m., and with Minister Michael Falzon declaring on TVM at about 9.30 p.m. that the Labour Party had obtained an absolute majority of votes cast. It was then the turn of Prime Minister and Labour leader Joseph Muscat,  who announced on TVM shortly after 11.00 a.m. that the Labour Party was heading for its greatest ever electoral victory with about 55% of the vote.

Shortly before the votes started being turned over at the Naxxar Counting Hall, the Electoral Commission announced that 72.6% of voters had voted in the European Parliament election.  This is nearly 2% less than the figure in the last election for the European Parliament five years ago. The rate of participation in the Local Council elections was 60.46%.

Early on Sunday morning, MP Hermann Schiavone, a man with years of experience in the workings of the electoral system, forecast what he described as a big victory for the Labour Party. In a telephone link up during a direct broadcast on TVM, Schiavone declared that based on voter turn out, the Nationalist Party had not managed to mobilise its voters, and forecast that the Labour Party would enjoy a bigger victory than that of 2014.

“It appears from the turn out that a band of Nationalists decided not to go out and vote yesterday,” Schiavone stated.

Shortly before 9.30 a.m., Minister Michael Falzon declared on TVM that everything was pointing towards an absolute majority for the Labour Party.

Michael Falzon stated that “I am not talking numbers at this stage; I don’t want to be irresponsible, and neither will I speak about majority X, Y or Z.”

Shortly after Minister Falzon’s intervention, when voting documents started being turned facing up in the Counting Hall, the parties started working out their samples. At about 11.10 a.m., Prime Minister and Labour leader Joseph Muscat declared during a telephone link up on TVM that the provisional result of the European Parliament election reflected the biggest political gap in the country’s history. Dr Muscat stated that according to provisional figures, up to that point the gap between the parties stood at 17%, with the Labour Party winning 55% of the vote. Dr Muscat added that with this result the Labour Party appeared on course to win the fourth seat.

“This, for us, was a very distant target, and I am very grateful, practically speechless, that we have managed to achieve it,” the Prime Minister added.

Shortly after, the Nationalist Party General Secretary Clyde Puli declared that the PN accepted the result with humility,and has to learn from it for the future in order to better represent the people’s aspirations.

In a comment to TVM, Mr Puli said the Nationalist Party has started to settle and take on a new dynamic, as the gap is much less that that indicated in polls, which he added had referred to a figure  of between 65,000 and 80,000. Referring to the fourth seat, Mr Puli said indications are that the Labour Party could get the fourth seat without a quota.

“Basically, give or take a bit either way, we have the same result as the general election,” Mr Puli declared.

During the victory celebrations in front of the National Labour Centre, the Prime Minister revised the Labour Party result upwards.

The Prime Minister declared  that “together we have obtained, so far, over 55% of the votes, and a majority of 48,000 votes.”

Meanwhile, the process is ongoing at the Naxxar Counting Hall, leading to the announcement of the six candidates elected to the European Parliament.

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