The Labour Party has won the election in a show of support for Robert Abela and the continuity of his leadership, beating out the rival Nationalist Party, led by Bernard Grech.

Early indications from the counting hall show an even greater lead than that of 2017.

Labour Party supporters are flooding the streets to celebrate, with many taking to their cars, blaring their horns. Celebrations are likely to spill over into next week.

The unofficial results have been made known this early thanks to party agents within the Naxxar counting hall closely following behind Perspex screens as officials count up the votes. The official results, communicated by the Electoral Commission, are expected this evening.

The election was called on 20th February by Prime Minister Robert Abela, leading to a more subdued electoral campaign as the Russia-Ukraine conflict overtook headlines and the pandemic continued to cast a shadow.

It was also unique due to the number of voting documents, required to cast your vote, that remained uncollected. On Friday, the Electoral Commission said that 14,473 votes were not collected, representing 4.1 per cent of the total 354,896 registered voters, almost double 2017, which saw 2.4 per cent of registered voters leave their document uncollected.

The turnout was in fact the lowest since Malta won Independence in 1964, with only 85.5 per cent, significantly less than the 92.1 per cent who voted in 2017.

All eyes will now turn to Dr Abela’s decision for his next Cabinet, and whether his first elected foray into Government will see any big shake ups.

Dr Abela was first appointed Leader of the Labour Party through an internal election and then Prime Minister in January 2020, after former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat resigned in the wake of protests. Soon after, the pandemic hit, a major test for the newly appointed leader.

A landslide victory in Dr Abela’s first general election as leader will be taken as a vote of confidence in his leadership, especially after Dr Muscat took to appearing in campaign side-events to endorse particular candidates seen as loyal to him.

Meanwhile, Dr Grech has already indicated that he will contest the PN’s next leadership election.

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Department of Information – Omar Camilleri

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