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Labour to have seven-seat majority

The new Labour government will have a seven-seat majority in parliament after the counting process was concluded yesterday

jurgen
Jurgen Balzan
7 June 2017, 8:09am
The new Labour government will have a seven-seat majority in parliament after the counting process was concluded yesterday
The new Labour government will have a seven-seat majority in parliament after the counting process was concluded yesterday
The new Labour government will have a seven-seat majority in parliament after the counting process was concluded yesterday. 

In 2013, despite winning with an equal majority of 35,000 votes, Labour had a nine-seat majority which was however contested in court by the PN, which was then eventually awarded two additional seats. 

In this legislature, Labour will have 37 seats and the PN 30. Out of the 65 MPs elected by yesterday, the PN only has 28 but these will be joined by Carm Mifsud Bonnici and Frederick Azzopardi who were elected thanks to the proportionality mechanism. 

New faces

Two new faces; Julia Farrugia Portelli and Hermann Schiavone
Two new faces; Julia Farrugia Portelli and Hermann Schiavone
The new parliament will have at least 10 new faces, with Labour electing seven new MPs while the PN has three. 

Labour’s newcomers include economist and Malta Freeport Corporation CEO Aaron Farrugia, who earned 3,600 first count votes on the first district, and the son of former President George Abela, Robert, who garnered 3,403 first count votes on the sixth district. 

Labour’s newcomers also include less known candidates such as Silvio Grixti and Byron Camilleri. Grixti – a family doctor from Zejtun – displaced outgoing justice minister Owen Bonnici who however scraped through by getting elected on the fifth district.

Camilleri, a relatively unknown figure on the national scene, did surprisingly well to get elected, with the Fgura mayor beating off the competition of outgoing MPs Stefan Buontempo and Etienne Grech. 

Former journalist and Projects Malta official Julia Farrugia Portelli is the only new woman MP within the government’s ranks. Farrugia Portelli took Labour’s third seat on a district contested by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

At 34, Mosta councillor Alex Muscat is the second youngest newcomer after 28-year-old architect and Qala mayor Clint Camilleri. 

Muscat was elected at the expense of outgoing junior minister for planning Deborah Schembri, while on the 13th district Camilleri ousted Franco Mercieca, who also served as a junior minister between 2013 and 2014. 

On the opposition’s benches, MEP Therese Comodini Cachia was elected on the eighth district but has since said that she would be relinquishing her seat to remain in Brussels.  

Former PN depurty secretary-general Jean-Pierre Debono will join his wife Kristy, after being elected on the seventhth district.

Hermann Schiavone – who was who was not allowed to contest previous elections following a feud with former Nationalist MP Franco Debono – was elected on the fifth district. 

Casualties 

Some political heavyweights are among the biggest casualties of this election, with the biggest surprises coming in the shape of Edward Zammit Lewis, Manuel Mallia and Deborah Schembri. 

The three, all outgoing Cabinet members, failed to get elected despite each contesting two districts. 

Former tourism minister Edward Zammit Lewis garnered 2,783 first count votes on the eighth district and 1,957 first counts on the ninth district but did not make the cut. 

His hopes now hinge on a casual election in one of the two districts, or possibly both, given that Edward Scicluna could give up his seat on the eighth district and Michael Falzon could give up his seat on the ninth. 

Falzon could also offer a glimpse of hope to Mallia. The former minister surprisingly failed to get elected following a stellar performance in 2013.

Four years ago, the former competitiveness minister was elected on two districts. However, this time around he was outstripped by Michael Falzon who got elected on the ninth and 10th districts. 

Mallia could also be offered a return route by Evarist Bartolo who was elected on the 10th and 12th districts. The decision on which districts are relinquished by candidates elected on two districts is taken by their parties.

If Bartolo relinquishes his seat on the 12th district, former parliamentary secretary for planning Deborah Schembri stands a good chance of being re-elected. 

Other Labour MPs who missed the boat include Luciano Busuttil, Stefan Buontempo, Etienne Grech and Joe Farrugia.

Other casualties, this time on the PN side include former ministers Censu Galea, George Pullicino and Francis Zammit Dimech. Other MPs who missed out are Antoine Borg and Paula Mifsud Bonnici. 

Popular radio host David Thake and Justin Schembri are among the favourites to fill in the seat vacated by Comodini Cachia on the eighth district, which could also see Beppe Fenech Adami vacate his seat.

The outgoing PN deputy leader could also vacate his other seat on the seventh district which would probably see Antoine Borg returning to parliament. 

On the ninth and 10th districts, where Robert Arrigo won a seat on each district, can see the return of Pullicino or the addition of a newcomer with both Ivan Bartolo and Nick Refalo having a chance of winning the casual election. 

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