Chief electoral commissioner unable to explain mislaid votes

Constitutional case into vote discrepancy during 2013 general elections continues

A mere 50-vote difference could have made all the difference in proportionality, Chief Electoral Commissioner Louis Gatt told the Constitutional Court in a hearing on the vote discrepancy that resulted in the last general elections.

The case is being brought by the Nationalist party after 50 votes giving their first preference to Michael Asciak were not automatically ‘inherited’ by Claudette Buttigieg as second preference, on the eighth district count.

The party is saying that votes were erroneously mislaid on both the eighth and thirteenth districts.

Gatt said he was unable to explain how votes for Buttigieg were not passed on to her, saying that at the time of the complaint he was occupied with another complain from a Labour electoral delegate.

The PN, represented by Theses Commodini Cachia, is insisting that this voting difference altered the result of the general elections and determined the number of seats for both parties. Labour emerged victorious with a nine-seat majority and that instead of electing Claudette Buttigieg on the eight district and Frederick Azzopardi on the 13th district, Labour MPs Edward Scicluna and Justyne Caruana were elected in their stead, on the respective districts.

The PN says that Labour should have a seven, not nine-seat majority. It also insists that Caruana was elected by a mere 10 votes on the 13th district, instead of Frederick Azzopardi, again due to a missing 10 ballot sheets.