Current Affairs
Upcoming MEP elections: 18,000 foreigners eligible to vote

Vote chasing by candidates for the European Parliamentary election is not just limited to Maltese. In the upcoming 25 May election eighteen thousand four hundred citizens from other European Union countries (a third of them British) are eligible to vote and will have the option to choose to elect six MEPS from among all the candidates contesting.

With just six weeks to go before the elections for the European Parliament and Local Councils, the Electoral Commission machine is in first gear. Currently over 800,000 voting document are being printed which will start being distributed by police officers once Easter is over.

Ballot papers for the double election started to be printed on Saturday. In total more than 805 000 documents are being printed for both elections. The Chief Electoral Commissioner, Joseph Church, said that for the first time, this process is being carried out at the Government Printing Press in Marsa.

Church explained that the Commission had “invested in specialised machines to speed up the printing process, because of the large numbers. This process was subject to party scrutiny. Moreover the voting document would be laminated and would also contain a photograph in colour. There are also security features which the Commission agreed upon and which are not in the public domain for security reasons.”

The voting documents will start being distributed door to door by members of the police from 23 April, which is also the deadline for candidate nomination for these elections.

Contrary to what happens during general elections, citizens from other EU member states who are resident in Malta can vote alongside Maltese citizens in European Parliament and local council elections. The Local Council electoral register has nearly 80,000 persons.

In the case of European Parliament elections, citizens from EU member states can vote for Maltese candidates once they have registered with the Electoral Commission. There are 18 375 who have done so.

“Among these there are 6,034 British. Unless something happens, they will vote like the rest.”

After the British, the largest amount of foreigners who can choose to vote for candidates in Malta are Italians with more than 4,000; followed by Bulgarians, Germans and Romanians.

In the upcoming election next month the votes will be cast into new transparent boxes.

The latest milestone in this process is the counting of votes, which will be done electronically. Mr Church said that the Electoral Commission anticipates that all the European Parliament votes will be counted on Sunday 26 May. In the days following, logistical arrangements would be made for the counting of the Local Council votes in the Naxxar counting hall.

“If everything goes according to plan, the first count of 22 localities would start on the 29, 30, 31 May. By Friday we will finish all the Councils.”

This is the first time in 25 years of local councils election that all Council elections will be taking part simultaneously.