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Extraordinary spike in government jobs in Gozo before election

Gozo registered a remarkable Labour majority in last Saturday’s general election, which was paralleled by an incredible spike in government jobs in Gozo before the election

saviour_balzan
Saviour Balzan
8 June 2017, 8:21am
Dozens of Gozitans were recruited by the government and employed with Gozo Channel
Dozens of Gozitans were recruited by the government and employed with Gozo Channel
Gozo registered a remarkable Labour majority in last Saturday’s general election and saw the Labour share of the vote rise by two per cent… a success that paralleled by an incredible spike in government jobs in Gozo before the election, MaltaToday can confirm.

This is not the first time that politics in Gozo have been associated with jobs for votes on an island where the power of incumbency plays an important element in the voting trends in the 13th district.

A Labour party candidate who insisted on remaining anonymous told MaltaToday that before the election, dozens of Gozitans were recruited by the government and employed either with Gozo Channel, or as care workers, security personnel or labourers.

Specifically, the workers have been employed by third-party contractors to State-owned enterprises.

The source blamed the employment spree on the Gozo ministry and said other Labour candidates and, of course, PN candidates, could not really compete on a level playing field.

“We can only talk about this now, because many Gozitans would have held it against us if we had complained of jobs for votes.

“But the fact is that at a certain point throughout the campaign, scores of workers left private-sector employment for the new jobs, leaving some employers guessing what had prompted their departure.”

The Labour party, which scored a 51.1% share of the vote from 49.1% in 2013, elected three candidates – Gozo minister Anton Refalo was elected on the first count with 4,853 votes.

He was followed by Justyne Caruana, also an advocate, who collected 3,189 first count votes – she has served as Parliamentary secretary for the elderly. 

The final and third candidate was Architect Clint Camilleri, who received 2,466 votes. He is a new face to the House, with incumbent eye specialist Franco Mercieca failing to get elected, receiving 1,853 first count votes.

The same source said that even some traditional Giovanna Debono voters voted Labour and for Anton Refalo.

The Nationalist party elected former justice minister Chris Said with 4,642 first count votes, and Marthese Portelli with 2,622 votes. The quota for the 13th district stood at 4,306.

saviour_balzan
Saviour Balzan is the founder and co-owner of MaltaToday. He has reported on Maltese poli...