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Court rules Alleanza Bidla candidates cannot run on more than two districts each

The Superior Court of Appeal has upheld a decision taken by the Electoral Commission not to allow candidates run on more than two districts

matthew_agius
Matthew Agius
19 May 2017, 4:51pm
Alleanza Bidla leader Ivan Grech Mintoff
Alleanza Bidla leader Ivan Grech Mintoff
Each candidate can only run on a maximum of two districts, the Superior Court of Appeal confirmed today, upholding a decision taken by the Electoral Commission against Alleanza Bidla.

Three candidates representing Alleanza Bidla – Ivan Grech Mintoff, Joseph Giardina and Saviour Xuereb – submitted nominations to run on 12, 11 and 10 districts respectively. But soon after the list of nominations was made public, the self-proclaimed Maltese patriots – who are also fielding candidates in this election – protested with the Electoral Commission.

On Wednesday, the Electoral Commission upheld the complaint by Moviment Patrijotti Maltin and the Alleanza Bidla moved to appeal the Electoral Commission’s decision.

Although the Court agreed with the European Commission’s reasoning that, the fact alone that candidate is nominated on two electoral districts “is reason enough” to refuse to accept nominations on further districts, it also accused the Electoral Commission of failing to carry out its duty when the extra nominations had not been opposed immediately.

In a separate decision, the court overturned the European Commission’s refusal to accept the candidature of Elizabeth Claire Mikkelsen, also an Alleanza Bidla candidate. The candidature was submitted minutes after the deadline for nominations.

The Court of Appeal noted that Commission representatives had testified that if a candidate would have crossed the threshold of the office before the 7pm deadline, he or she would be deemed to have applied in time - even if the processing of the application took the process past 7pm.

The court noted that the appellant had started her process before the deadline but the process had been interrupted by the Commission, which needed to seek advice after the issue of whether or not she could contest on two or more districts was raised.

The process had resumed after 7pm.

The court held that both the Commission's plea of nullity and its decision about the merits of the application were wrong. The candidate had filed her nomination in time and “it was not her fault that the Commission was unable to finish it...She should not suffer the consequences.”

The court ordered the continuation of the process of Mikkelsen's nomination, shortening the window for the filing of opposition to the nomination till 7pm today.

matthew_agius
Court reporter Matthew Agius is a Legal Procurator and Commissioner for Oaths. Prior to re...
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