Elections live-blog • Labour victory sees Muscat retain power with majority of over 38,000

ELECTIONS 2017 LIVE BLOG • Scale of victory of Labour is now estimated to be at over 38,000

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat during a brief visit at the counting hall complex in Naxxar (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat during a brief visit at the counting hall complex in Naxxar (Photo: Chris Mangion/MediaToday)
Ministers celebrate: Konrad Mizzi (left) was implicated in the Panama Papers while Chris Cardona (right) was alleged to have been in a German brothel while on government business, an allegation he denied. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Ministers celebrate: Konrad Mizzi (left) was implicated in the Panama Papers while Chris Cardona (right) was alleged to have been in a German brothel while on government business, an allegation he denied. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
09:04 THIS LIVE-BLOG HAS ENDED Matthew Vella
01:55 On the fifth district, Joseph Muscat has polled 12,866 votes. In 2013 he ran on the fourth district and won 12,202 votes. So his total votes in this election are 27,540. Matthew Vella
01:04 The vote count for Joseph Muscat on the 2nd district is in: 14,674. In 2013, he polled 13,968 votes. Matthew Vella
21:57 A number of first count votes are out:

District 13

Clint Camilleri (PL) 2,465 • Joe Cordina (PL) 778 • George Camilleri (PL) 94 • Justyne Caruana (PL) 3,189 • Franco Mercieca (PL) 1,852 • Stephen Florian (MPM) 65 • Alex Pisani (MPM) 7 • Luke Caruana (AD) 126

Miriam Dalli
21:53 One News are reporting that the PN leadership, Simon Busuttil, Mario de Marco, and Beppe Fenech Adami are expected to announce their resignations tomorrow morning. Matthew Vella
21:32 We're updating the Gozo count in a minute... go to this link HERE. Matthew Vella
21:07 The reason why our live results page is not yet live is because we do not have the tallies of the first-count votes yet. Keep logging back here. Matthew Vella
21:06 We just uploaded Marlene Farrugia's statement to the press here. Matthew Vella
20:25 Matthew Vella
20:22 PD leader Marlene Farrugia and partner Godfrey Farrugia, both former Labour MPs, have arrived in the counting hall. Follow her brief Q&A with the press here Matthew Vella
20:10 Heard the one about the Nationalist donkey? You can read it on inewsmalta.com. Matthew Vella
20:08 Matthew Vella
20:07 Just updated district shares in our Infogram chart below. But first district shares are unofficial. Matthew Vella
Matthew Vella
18:35 The press room here is full of incredulous looks: everyone expected Busuttil would announce his resignation. Matthew Vella
18:34 That's the long and short of it. Simon Busuttil has not even discussed his future in the party. Matthew Vella
18:33 The PN leader is delivering his comments live on NET TV, as he takes the opportunity to also thank Media.Link's employees and volunteers who have worked during this campaign. Miriam Dalli
18:32 "I thank all those people who put their faith in Forza Nazzjonali, the candidates, party officials, as well as other people who worked behind the scenes and thousands of party volunteers." Matthew Vella
18:32 "The PN now must start an internal process to discuss this result, rebuild itself as an Opposition." Matthew Vella
18:31 "We lit a flame of hope in what we believe, and what many people believe in. My message is that we keep this flame alive, and keep it burning after having done so much to light it up." Matthew Vella
18:30 "We live in a democracy and we must show maturity and respect today's result. Matthew Vella
18:04 A media call for PN leader Simon Busuttil's statement has been issued for 6.15pm on NET TV. Miriam Dalli
18:04 The sorting of votes into the individual candidates’ pigeonholes is still underway, and an optimistic projection would place the result of the first count vote to come out at around 9pm.

As observers try to predict what’s going to happen, very few new names are being mentioned and these include PN candidate Jean Pierre Debono and PL candidates Robert Abela, Clint Camilleri and Silvio Grixti.

Josie Muscat is said to be “doing well” – although it does not necessarily mean that he will get elected.

Meanwhile, observers also say that PD leader Marlene Farrugia appears to be making a good showing on the tenth district.

Miriam Dalli
16:48 PN sources confirm PN leader Simon Busuttil is set to give a televised statement at 6.30pm. Miriam Dalli
16:30 The Democratic Party leader Marlene Farrugia, whose fledgling party ran on the Nationalist Party ticket, has claimed that the Labour government spent taxpayers’ cash to coax people into voting for it.

Who would have thought that the Maltese people would give its approval to a corrupt government,” the former Labour MP said. “But that is what the Maltese people wanted. Our mission does not stop here – this is just half the country,” she said.

“If this government bought everyone up using tax money, we cannot blame the people for having been blinded and having believed [Muscat].”

Matthew Vella
16:29 Not a stylish reaction from PN candidate Salvu Mallia, the TV broadcaster. He says the Maltese electorate has simply chosen corruption. "A result that has proved me right. The failure of 2,000 years of Christianity."

Matthew Vella
15:20 The German Green MEP Sven Giegold has issued a statement reminding voters that Malta’s election win for Labour cannot replace the necessary investigations that must take place on the Panama Papers.
“Congratulations to the Labour government of Malta for its re-election. But, elections do not replace thorough investigations. The accusations around the sale of passports, money laundering and corruption are a heavy burden for the reputation of the islands when it comes to the rule of law. In particular the alleged fact researched by the FIAU deserve proper scrutiny.
“The PANA inquiry committee of the European Parliament will continue to ensure that accusations of money laundering are taken seriously everywhere in the EU. Also the new Maltese parliament could do its part in order to investigate in a fair and thorough manner the accusations.
“Lastly the corporate tax system needs changes in or to overcome the image of Malta as a tax haven which will create a growing burden to its financial sector as well as the gaming industry on the islands.”
Matthew Vella
15:18 Joseph Muscat will be sworn in tomorrow at 11am. Matthew Vella
15:17 The Labour leader announced a mass meeting for Saturday 10 June, whilst supporters have been encouraged to go to Valletta on Monday morning for the swearing-in ceremony Miriam Dalli
15:15 Muscat said that both the 2013 and the 2017 elections have been won “with the biggest majorities ever recorded”.

He appealed his supporters to help him “reunite the country”.

“My wife and I were the most attacked but we won’t hold any grudges...”

Miriam Dalli
15:12 Labour will hold a victory mass meeting on Saturday at the Granaries in Floriana. Matthew Vella
15:11 Labour leader Joseph Muscat, today reconfirmed as Malta’s prime minister, is addressing thousands of supporters outside the party’s headquarters “I am so proud of you… Malta for all has chosen the best time… thank you for reconfirming the trust in this movement despite the heavy campaign against us.

“Those who fought on negativity showed they don’t know the people: Maltese and Gozitans choose positivity, optimism, energy, good will, unity and equality.”

Miriam Dalli
15:11 "It would be easy for us, on this day of our second historic victory, to be stubborn about our success." Matthew Vella
15:10 "Now I need your help to unite this country once again. My wife and I were the two people mostly attacked in this campaign. We will not be bitter about this. We are appealing to each and every one of you, to work with anyone who is ready to take this country forward." Matthew Vella
15:09 Joseph Muscat is addressing Labour supporters in Hamrun outside Labour HQ. Matthew Vella
15:08 Labour leader Joseph Muscat, today reconfirmed as Malta’s prime minister, is addressing thousands of supporters outside the party’s headquarters Miriam Dalli
15:06 Miriam Dalli
15:03 Govt comms coordinator posts this photo of him with the Prime Minister at the counting hall.

Matthew Vella
14:44 Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is expected to address Labour supporters outside Labour HQ. Follow it live here Matthew Vella
14:24 Meanwhile, PN sources have confirmed that, contrary to reports, PN leader Simon Busuttil will not be addressing the media today or deliver any statements. Miriam Dalli
14:03 Miriam Dalli
13:54 The latest unofficial results place PL at 55.2% and PN at 43.5% Miriam Dalli
13:43 There goes the embattled chief of staff of Joseph Muscat (who was famously implicated in the Panama Papers) tweeting on the Labour victory...

Matthew Vella
13:41 Nationalist leader Simon Busuttil is not expected to address the press, according to a PN spokesperson. Busuttil led the PN to his first election as leader in yesterday’s general election. Speculation is now rife as to what political future awaits Busuttil after the unexpected landslide defeat. Busuttil was a former MEP who took over from Lawrence Gonzi in 2013 following a major defeat to Joseph Muscat's Labour Party. Matthew Vella
13:21 A message from EC president Jean Claude Juncker.

Matthew Vella
13:20 PD leader and former Labour MP Marlene Farrugia has posted a photo on Facebook. It also looks like Godfrey Farrugia had a good show in first count votes.

Matthew Vella
12:31 Joseph Muscat is now live on TVM. "I did not expect this kind of result but the people have spoken... I will work for the country, and I won't let bitterness prevent me from working with anyone for the benefit of the country." Matthew Vella
12:27 Here's the video of Muscat's entrance in the counting hall.

Matthew Vella
12:25 There is quite some commotion in the counting hall right now. A metal barrier separating two aisles had to be physically removed as the throng encircling Joseph Muscat made its way into the counting hall. Matthew Vella
12:21 Joseph Muscat has entered the counting hall. You can follow it live here. Matthew Vella
12:01 In their initial comments, PN deputy leaders Beppe Fenech and Mario de Marco conceded defeat: “We recognize that the PN lost the election… we now need to analyse what happened and move on from there.”

Mario de Marco thanked the electorate for voting. He recognized that, despite the slight drop in turnout, it still remained a strong one.

“It’s now time to look forward. It is important that the rule of law remains relevant,” he said, urging the public to remain calm. “This country is politically mature and we are ultimately one nation… let’s respect each other’s opinion.”

Miriam Dalli
11:40 Konrad Mizzi might have had a very good show on the fourth district, despite his involvement in the Panama Papers.

Matthew Vella
11:38 Here's the latest comments from Joseph Muscat

Matthew Vella
11:37 And here is Joseph Muscat tweeting back:

Matthew Vella
11:37 Here's Simon Busuttil's tweet conceding:

Matthew Vella
11:36 Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has released some comments on One TV, we'll be uploading them very soon. Matthew Vella
11:31 We are unsure of the scale of the victory, with some wild rumours of a 30K+ victory indicating that little has changed since 2013. Net TV, the PN organ, is reporting 34,000. Matthew Vella
11:31 It's a Labour win... sorry, but website crashed. Matthew Vella
11:12 PL spokesperson and PM's communications chief Kurt Farrugia is refusing to shed any light on the possible scale of victory of Labour. Matthew Vella
11:10 Matthew Vella
11:07 Farrugia has said: "If someone will be saying at this point, it will be the Prime Minister." Matthew Vella
11:07 PL spokesperson Kurt Farrugia is in the counting hall, and the press is encircling him. Matthew Vella
11:00 Some early indicators, first up from Michael Briguglio, who is tweeting from the counting hall.

Matthew Vella
10:56 The fourth district, traditionally a PL stronghold, is reporting strong PL shows. Matthew Vella
10:48 PN counting agents are identifiable here, wearing Elcom t-shirts

Matthew Vella
10:48 Matthew Vella
10:43 Matthew Vella
10:38 Michael Briguglio, who in the last election was chairperson of the Green Party, is today in the counting hall but not on AD's side. He became an active supporter of the 'Forza Nazzjonali' coalition between the PN and PD, after having also led a civil society protest over the Panama Papers.

Matthew Vella
10:30 If you watching the counting process on TV, you will see two desks manned by top party officials. The expressions on their face will be the first sign of where this election will go. Matthew Vella
10:28 Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando has posted a photo of a celebratory cake. The former Nationalist MP is now a Labour candidate. Wonder whether all that icing sugar will end up in his face if things don't get as he hopes... Matthew Vella
Source: Facebook/Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando
Source: Facebook/Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando
10:24 Ballot sheets are now being counted, with first preference votes slotted into each individual candidate's pigeon-hole. Matthew Vella
10:19 We have set up a special page here for you to follow the tally of votes. Matthew Vella
10:16 In Floriana, Labour officials have been spotted around the Granaries as workers erect a stage. Matthew Vella
10:13 Silence in the counting hall... yeah, you can hear pins dropping all over the place. Matthew Vella
10:10 Good morning everyone: the counting is about to start, as parties told activists and agents to take their places behind the Perspex wall where they will monitor the counting process. Matthew Vella

9am The counting hall in Naxxar is a centre of buzzing activity as activists and counting agents get ready to start the lengthy process of counting the votes of some 92% of the Maltese electorate.

Awaiting 10am: is the voter turnout an indication?

Ballot sheets are being sorted and organised in batches of 50 and placed face down.

Counting is expected to start after 10am. Counters will then start taking out each individual ballot sheet, lifting them up high enough for party agents behind the Perspex wall to see the vote.

Each individual number 1 preference will be placed in the selected candidate’s pigeonhole, to be counted finally after all number 1 votes have been sorted.

A crucial point at this stage is the sampling exercise taking place by party agents. As the votes are shown, they mark down the votes on chits which are then delivered to the party desks, who extrapolate the results.

Usually, a sample of 50 to 100 ballot sheets from each ballot box often delivers an early estimate of the final result.