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Elections 2017: A district by district analysis

A cursory look at the results of the last three elections shows that in 2013 Labour secured a landslide victory by electing 4 MPs in the second, third, fourth and fifth districts

jurgen
Jurgen Balzan
16 May 2017, 8:00am
A number of heavyweights on both sides of the political divide will not be seeking re-election, opening up the doors for new candidates
A number of heavyweights on both sides of the political divide will not be seeking re-election, opening up the doors for new candidates
Malta is divided into 13 electoral districts with each electing five MPs. A cursory look at the results of the last three elections shows that in 2013 Labour secured a landslide victory by electing 4 MPs in the second, third, fourth and fifth districts. 

The PN must at least regain some ground in the southern part of the island and in Gozo, which four years ago returned three Labour MPs despite the PN winning the majority of votes.

Furthermore, a number of heavyweights on both sides of the political divide will not be seeking re-election, opening up the doors for new candidates. 

DISTRICT 1

(Valletta, Floriana, Hamrun, Marsa, Pieta, Gwardamangia, Sta Venera)

2003: 2 seats PL, 3 seats PN

2008: 3 PL, 2 PN     

2013: 3 PL, 2 PN

OUTGOING: PL: Deo Debattista, Jose Herrera, Luciano Busuttil (casual election, CE)

PN: Mario de Marco, Claudio Grech, Paula Mifsud Bonnici (elected via Constitutional adjustment)  

The most notable absentees on the list of candidates are Labour stalwart Joe Debono Grech – who called it a day after 41 years in Parliament – and deputy prime minister Louis Grech. This gives environment minister Jose Herrera the opportunity to secure his seat on the first count, while former Hamrun mayor Luciano Busuttil, Valletta family doctor Deo Debattista and new candidate Aaron Farrugia are expected to fight it out for the other two seats.

On the PN front, deputy leader Mario de Marco is expctd to comfortably retain his seat while Claudio Grech and Paula Mifsud Bonnici are the frontrunners for the PN’s other secure seat. 

DISTRICT 2

(Birgu, Bormla, Isla, Kalkara, Zabbar, part of Fgura, Xghajra)

2003: 3 PL, 2 PN

2008: 4 PL, 1 PN     

2013: 4 PL, 1 PN

OUTGOING: PL: Joe Mizzi, Helena Dalli, Stefan Buontempo, Chris Agius (CE)

PN: Stephen Spiteri (CE)

Joseph Muscat is once again contesting the second district, a Labour fortress and the only district where Labour are almost guaranteed four seats. While Muscat’s seat is as safe as houses, the other three Labour seats could go to anyone from Cabinet members Joe Mizzi, Helena Dalli, Stefan Buontempo and Chris Agius, while Muscat’s Rottweiler, Glenn Beddingfield could spring a surprise. 

Family doctor Stephen Spiteri is expected to retain his seat, which he previously won in casual elections to fill in the seat vacated by former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, who will not be contesting the election. Yet, St James Hospital owner Josie Muscat – a former Nationalist MP and Zabbar kingpin – could be in with a chance. 

DISTRICT 3

(Zejtun, Ghaxaq, Marsaskala, Marsaxlokk)

2003: 3 PL, 2 PN

2008: 3 PL, 2 PN     

2013: 4 PL, 1 PN

OUTGOING: PL: Owen Bonnici, Carmelo Abela, George Vella, Etienne Grech

PN: Mario Galea 

The third district is one of the districts which might see a PN resurgence, however Labour will be hoping to maintain the four seats won in 2013 and with foreign minister George Vella out of the equation after retiring from politics, ministers Chris Fearne, Joe Mizzi, Helena Dalli and Owen Bonnici are favourites among Labour’s ranks.

Veteran MP Mario Galea is set to retain the PN seat but will face stiff competition from right-wing maverick Josie Muscat and former minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici. 

DISTRICT 4

(Part of Fgura, Gudja, Paola, Sta Lucia, Tarxien)

2003: 3 PL, 2 PN

2008: 3 PL, 2 PN     

2013: 4 PL, 1 PN

OUTGOING: PL: Joseph Muscat, Konrad Mizzi, Silvio Parnis, Chris Fearne

PN: Jason Azzopardi, Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici (elected via Constitutional adjustment)  

Another district which could swing and return to 2008 levels. Joseph Muscat’s decision not to recontest the fourth district means that over 12,000 votes are up for grabs and this has led to a hamper war between fierce rivals Konrad Mizzi and Chris Fearne. Both are expected to retain their seats while backbenchers Silvio Parnis and Etienne Grech will be hoping to retain theirs. 

The PN’s vociferous conservative MP Jason Azzopardi is favourite to maintain his seat while Carm Mifsud Bonnici, MEP Therese Comodini Cachia and other PN candidates will hope to win enough votes to have a fighting chance for a second PN seat.  

DISTRICT 5

(Birzebbugia, Kirkop, Mqabba, Hal Farrug, Luqa, Qrendi, Safi, Zurrieq, Bubaqra)

2003: 3 PL, 2 PN

2008: 3 PL, 2 PN     

2013: 4 PL, 1 PN

OUTGOING: PL: Joe Sammut, Edward Scicluna, Joe Farrugia (CE)

PD: Marlene Farrugia

PN: Toni Bezzina

Joseph Muscat’s decision to contest the fifth district could be an indication that Labour is fearing that it could lose the fourth seat it won four years ago, especially with former Labour MP Marlene Farrugia running on the PN/PD ticket. Muscat is expected to sweep most of the votes won by European Commissioner and Zurrieq favourite Karmenu Vella. With MP Joe Sammut abruptly pulling out of the running and finance minister Edward Scicluna deciding to contest a different district, the frontrunners in the Labour camp are minister Owen Bonnici, former party president Stephan Zrinzo Azzopardi and former Labour journalist Julia Farrugia Portelli. 

On the PN ticket, outgoing MP Toni Bezzina will be looking over his shoulder in trepidation as Marlene Farrugia has set her sights on winning a seat. In the unlikely scenario that the PN increases its votes to 2008 levels, both could be elected while newcomers Norman Vella and Hermann Schiavone have an outside chance.  

DISTRICT 6

(Qormi, Siggiewi, Luqa)

2003: 3 PL, 2 PN

2008: 3 PL, 2 PN     

2013: 3 PL, 2 PN

OUTGOING: PL: Silvio Schembri, Roderick Galdes, Charles Mangion (CE)

PN: Clyde Puli, Ryan Callus

Qormi’s favourite daughter, Marie Louise Coleiro Preca is now President of the Republic and her 5,700 votes will be split between Ian Borg and newcomer Qormi mayor Rosianne Cutajar and Robert Abela – son of former President George Abela. Junior minister Rodrick Galdes’s seat could be at risk as is that of Silvio Schembri. Their best bet could be that of being elected in a casual election.

Clyde Puli and Ryan Callus are likely to retain their seats for the PN.

DISTRICT 7

(Zebbug, Dingli, Mgarr, Mtarfa, Rabat)

2003: 2 PL, 3 PN

2008: 3 PL, 2 PN     

2013: 3 PL, 2 PN

OUTGOING: PL: Ian Borg, Godfrey Farrugia, Charles Buhagiar

PN: Antoine Borg (CE), Tony Abela (CE)

The seventh district could turn out to be a pivotal battleground with former Labour whip Godfrey Farrugia now running on the PN/PD ticket, a decision which will not go down too well with Labour. The much respected family doctor could draw disillusioned Labour voters and it will come as no surprise if he fares well. 

With outgoing Labour MP Charles Buhagiar also deciding to call it a day, junior minister Ian Borg and Edward Scicluna are expected to be the frontrunners with Gavin Gulia, Julia Farrugia Portelli, Charles Azzopardi, Anthony Agius Decelis, Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, Ian Castaldi Paris and Silvio Schembri hoping to secure Labour’s other two seats. 

In the PN camp, some 9,000 are up for grabs as Lawrence Gonzi, Tony Abela and Joe Cassar will not be contesting this time around. PN deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami, outgoing MP Antoine Borg and Godfrey Farrugia are expected to be the frontrunners. 

DISTRICT 8

(Balzan, Birkirkara, Iklin, Lija)

2003: 2 PL, 3 PN

2008: 2 PL, 3 PN     

2013: 3 PL, 2 PN

OUTGOING: PL: Chris Cardona, Edward Zammit Lewis, Edward Scicluna, Joe Debono Grech (CE)

PN: Beppe Fenech Adami, Tonio Fenech, Claudette Buttigieg (elected via Constitutional adjustment)  

The PN will be looking at swinging the district in their favour and Beppe Fenech Adami, Claudette Buttigieg and Therese Comodini Cachia are the favourites to win a seat while popular PN media hosts David Thake and Norman Vella stand an outside chance. The absence of Tonio Fenech means that the 4,500 votes the former finance minister got in 2013 are up for grabs. 

Labour will hope to retain the three seats which it surprisingly won in 2013 and deputy leader Chris Cardona, tourism minister Edward Zammit Lewis, finance minister Edward Scicluna are the three favourites.

DISTRICT 9

(Gharghur, San Gwann, Msida, Swieqi, Ta’ Xbiex)

2003: 2 PL, 3 PN

2008: 2 PL, 3 PN     

2013: 2 PL, 3 PN

OUTGOING: PL: Manuel Mallia, Clifton Grima (CE)

PN: George Pullicino, Kristy Debono (CE), Marthese Portelli (CE)

Four years ago the ninth district was a tightly fought affair as Labour closed in on the PN in what is normally a safe PN district. However, the PN is expected to increase its tally in the district and despite the absence of leader Simon Busuttil from the ballot sheet its three seats are secure. Veterans George Pullicino, Robert Arrigo and Francis Zammit Dimech will have to see off the stiff challenge by outgoing MPs Kristy Debono, Marthese Portelli and newcomer Albert Buttigieg. However, the casual elections will also provide candidates a second opportunity. 

In the Labour camp some 2,000 votes are freed up after Leo Brincat’s promotion to the European Court of Auditors. Manuel Mallia, former deputy leader Michael Falzon and outgoing MP Clifton Grima are the frontrunners while tourism minister Edward Zammit Lewis also stands a good chance. 

DISTRICT 10

(Sliema, Gzira, parts of Naxxar, Bahar ic-Caghaq, Pembroke, St Julian’s)

2003: 1 PL, 4 PN

2008: 2 PL, 3 PN     

2013: 2 PL, 3 PN

OUTGOING: 

PL: Evarist Bartolo, Michael Falzon (CE)

PN: Robert Arrigo, Francis Zammit Dimech, Karl Gouder (CE)

In 2013, the PN saw its share of votes down by some six points but this time around it is hopeful of increasing its votes, especially following the backing lent by former Green Party leader and long-time Sliema councillor Michael Briguglio. PD leader Marlene Farrugia is most likely to benefit from this as she could attract disgruntled Labour voters, Green voters and switchers. However, Robert Arrigo, George Pullicino and Francis Zammit Dimech remain popular figures among the party’s rank and file and are favourites to retain their seat. Karl Gouder’s best chance of retaining a seat is a casual election.  

Evarist Bartolo and Manuel Mallia are the frontrunners for Labour’s two seats while Michael Falzon’s best chance remains a casual election. 

DISTRICT 11

(Mdina, Attard, Mosta, Burmarrad)

2003: 2 PL, 3 PN

2008: 2 PL, 3 PN     

2013: 2 PL, 3 PN

OUTGOING: 

PL: Anthony Agius Decelis, Louis Grech

PN: Simon Busuttil, David Agius, Charlo Bonnici (CE)

A traditionally safe PN district which will most likely see PN leader Simon Busuttil increase his 2013 tally, when he had earned 7,700 votes. Notable absentees include Joe Cassar who resigned after MaltaToday revealed that he received gifts from a businessman while in government and Michael Gonzi – brother of former PN leader Lawrence. The other two PN seats are likely to go to David Agius and Edwin Vassallo.

Labour’s list will be missing the names of Charles Buhagiar and Louis Grech and the two seats will go to deputy leader Chris Cardona, minister Michael Farrugia or  junior minister Deborah Schembri. 

DISTRICT 12

(Mellieha, parts of Naxxar, St Paul’s Bay)

2003: 2 PL, 3 PN

2008: 2 PL, 3 PN     

2013: 2 PL, 3 PN

OUTGOING

PL: Michael Farrugia, Deborah Schembri

PN: Michael Gonzi, Robert Cutajar, Censu Galea (CE)

Another traditional PN stronghold and another district which should see Simon Busuttil sweep most of the votes, including those of Michael Gonzi. Veteran PN MP Censu Galea’s decision not to run in the district could favour his daughter, St Paul’s Bay mayor Graziella Galea, while other candidates in with a shout include outgoing MPs Claudette Buttigieg and Robert Cutajar and Naxxar mayor Maria Deguara. Maverick TV presenter Salvu Mallia and radio host David Thake could hold a wildcard. 

Education minister Evarist Bartolo’s seat is safe and the second Labour seat could go to Deborah Schembri, Michael Farrugia or Gozitan ophthalmologist Franco Mercieca – who doubled his chances of getting elected by contesting in Malta. 

DISTRICT 13

(Gozo)

2003: 2 PL, 3 PN

2008: 2 PL, 3 PN     

2013: 3 PL, 2 PN

OUTGOING PL: Anton Refalo, Franco Mercieca, Justyne Caruana

PN: Chris Said, Frederick Azzopardi (elected via Constitutional adjustment)  

Ind: Giovanna Debono

In 2013, Gozo saw Labour elect three MPs for the first time ever despite losing the popular vote. This time around, the PN is expecting to elect three MPs and restore its supremacy in Gozo. However, the absence of former Gozo minister Giovanna Debono, whose husband is under investigation over an alleged works-for-votes scandal, could see a number of votes switch to current minister Anton Refalo. Former justice minister Chris Said is favourite to win the biggest number of votes within the PN’s ranks and Marthese Portelli - who was elected on the 9th diostrict last time around - Frederick Azzopardi and Censu Galea are expected to fight it out for the other two seats if the PN wins a majority of seats.

Gozo is most probably Labour’s most hotly contested district, especially if it only elects two MPs. While Anton Refalo is anticipated to repeat his 2013 showing, Franco Mercieca or Justyne Caruana is set to miss out. Moreover, popular Qala mayor Clint Camilleri could upset the apple cart.

jurgen
Jurgen Balzan joined MaltaToday in 2011, specialising in politics, foreig...