PN could clinch third seat by a whisker

Although the PN starts as favourite to clinch its third seat, it is not a destiny etched in stone

Nationalist Party headquarters (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)
Nationalist Party headquarters (Photo: James Bianchi/MaltaToday)

The survey results suggest we could be in for an interesting battle for the sixth seat after the dust settles on the overall result of Saturday’s election. 

A breakdown of the survey numbers shows that the Labour Party is posed to secure 131,092 votes, the Nationalist Party 106,830 votes and all other candidates together are expected to muster 20,400 votes. 

With an estimated turnout of 69.9%, the survey suggests that the quota for the European Parliament election will be 36,904 votes. 

This means that the PL has a quota share of 3.55, the PN a quota share of 2.89 and all other candidates a collective quota share of 0.55. 

These figures translate into three solid seats for the PL and two solid seats for the PN, leaving the sixth seat in play. 

As things stand, the PN is best placed to win that last seat, having a fraction of 0.89 when compared to the PL’s 0.55 and the other candidates at 0.55. 

However, these quota shares are based on the first count result and where that last seat goes will depend on how votes are inherited in subsequent rounds when candidates are either elected or eliminated. 

This means that if the PN sheds votes to independent candidates or is saddled with non-transferable votes (this could happen, for example, if someone gives their number one vote to a candidate and stops there), it could see its fraction being chipped away at every count. 

The MaltaToday survey groups all third party candidates and independents together, so it is difficult to say how that 0.55 quota share will be split up between them. However, when respondents were asked who their first-choice candidate is, Arnold Cassola is the only independent to make it into the top six category at first count. 

This ranking suggests Cassola is very likely to be the independent candidate to inherit most votes in subsequent counts. 

However, we do advise caution on these figures because a majority of people were uncertain who their preferred candidate is. 

Although the PN starts as favourite to clinch its third seat, it is not a destiny etched in stone. The race for that last seat could go to the wire and much will depend on the appetite of voters to engage in cross-party voting.