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[WATCH] Casual elections | Five Labour MPs elected

Deborah Schembri, Luciano Busuttil, Joe Debono Grech, Chris Agius and Michael Falzon elected to Parliament in casual elections.

Miriam Dalli
28 March 2013, 12:00am
New Labour MP Deborah Schembri pipped her closest rivals to the vacated seat on the 12th district by a mere 57 votes.
New Labour MP Deborah Schembri pipped her closest rivals to the vacated seat on the 12th district by a mere 57 votes.

Deborah Schembri, Luciano Busuttil, Michael Falzon, Joe Debono Grech and Chris Agius have been elected in today's casual elections held to fill in the seats vacated by Labour MPs elected on two districts.

Labour MP Michael Falzon won the casual election on the 10th district, taking the seat vacated by Manual Mallia, the new home affairs minister who was elected with 2,526 votes.

Falzon took the seat with 1,646 votes on one count, with Clifton Grima taking 349 votes, Sigmund Mifsud getting 443, Joanne Vella Cuschieri taking 364, and Nikita Zammit Alamango recieving 156 votes.

Mallia was also elected to the ninth district with 2,950 votes.

On the second district, Chris Agius reached the quota of 1,914 votes to take Prime Minister Joseph Muscat's vacated seat. Victor Sultana, who received 200, was the first to be eliminated.

On the eighth district, incumbent Joe Debono Grech was elected after he took 2011 votes, reaching the quota of 1,844. Clifford Galea came closest to Debono Grech, obtaining 1431 votes. The other candidates in the running Marc Sant (602), and John Buttigieg (432) were both eliminated. Having served for 41 years in Parliament, Debono Grech will be the oldest MP in parliament.

Thanking the electorate for electing him again in his eleventh general election, Debono Grech said "I am happy to end my career in government, but I still have a lot to offer."

In the first and twelfth district the race is very tight with up to three candidates on each district in John Buttigieg who obtained 167 votes has been elimianted and his votes are now being redistributed to the remaining candidates.  the running for the seats vacated by Louis Grech and Evarist Bartolo respectively.

The frontrunners for the seat vacated by the deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech were Luciano Busuttil, David Farrugia Sacco and Yana Mintoff Bland. In its initial stages the race was too close to call as the three candidates were only separated by a handful of votes. However on the fourth count Busuttil was elected, coming from behind to take the seat vacated by Louis Grech.

The quota was set at 1891 votes. In the second count Mintoff Bland got 1194 votes, Busuttil reached 1247 while David Farrugia Sacco was in the lead with 1285 votes.

Curiously, family-therapist and new Labour candidate Charles Azzopardi, who had obtained 367 votes on the first count in the general election, did not apply for the casual election. The tension among the candidates and their aides was palpable, with Luciano Busuttil pacing up and down the hall nervously. 

John Buttigieg was the first candidate to be eliminated and his 167 votes were distributed to the remaining candidates.

On the twelfth district, the education minister Evarist Bartolo's seat is being contested by six candidates. However, the favourites were Deborah Schembri, Clayton Bartolo and Clifford Galea, who are only seperated by a small number of votes. The first count shows that Schembri is leading the pack with 1066 votes, followed by Bartolo on 906 and Galea with 802 votes. The quota was set at 1918 votes.

At the end Schembri prevailed after pipping Clayton Bartolo to the seat vacated by Evarist Bartolo by just 57 votes. She was elected despite not reaching the quota, meaning she was co-opted to Parliament to fill in the vacated seat.

In the second count Schembri reached 1106 votes, Bartolo 995 and Galea 829 votes. In the third count, only 50 votes seperated Schembri and Bartolo, with the former divorce campaigner on 1378 votes and Bartolo on 1328.

The other candidates in the running were Lorna Vassallo who obtained 184 votes on the first count and was the first to be eliminated, while Alfred Grima who got 295 votes in the first count and Joanne Vella Cuschieri 479. Grima was the next to be eliminated in the third count after reaching 301 votes in the second count. Vella Cuschieri rose to 536 and seems to be next in line for elimination.

A total of 24 nominations have been submitted for the Labour casual elections taking place today.

These include:

1st district for the seat vacated by Louis Grech:

Bland Mintoff Joan

Busuttil Luciano

Buttigieg John

Farrugia Sacco David

2nd district for the seat vacated by Joseph Muscat

Agius Christopher

Bland Mintoff Joan

Law Rita

Meli Adrian George

Sultana Victor

8th district for the seat vacated by Edward Scicluna

Buttigieg John

Debono Grech Joseph

Galea Clifford

Sant Marc

10th district for the seat vacated by Emanuel Mallia

Falzon Michael

Grima Clifton

Mifsud Sigmund

Vella Cuschieri Joanne

Zammit Alamango Nikita

12th district for the seat vacated by Evarist Bartolo

Bartolo Clayton

Galea Clifford

Grima Alfred

Schembri Tabone Deborah

Vassallo Lorna

Vella Cuschieri Joanne
Miriam Dalli joined in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...