Casual elections for Nationalist MPs to be held on Wednesday

The Electoral Commission will hold five causal elections ceded respectively by Simon Busuttil, David Agius, Robert Arrigo, Beppe Fenech Adami and Marthese Portelli

The Electoral Commission will hold five causal elections, two in the Eleventh Division and another in each of the Tenth, Seventh and Thirteenth Electoral Divisions, ceded respectively by Simon Busuttil, David Agius, Robert Arrigo, Beppe Fenech Adami and Marthese Portelli. 

As the writ is being published in today’s Government Gazette, the Electoral Commission therefore shall be receiving candidates’ nominations for casual elections for these electoral divisions.

Eligible candidates who contested the mentioned electoral divisions for the 3 June general elections, and who were not elected, may present their nomination form from Thursday 15 to Monday 19 June, at the Electoral Commission’s office between 9.00am and 1.00pm.

The counting of votes of these casual elections shall take place as from 8.00am on Wednesday 21 June.

It will be a hard-fought battle for former Nationalist minister George Pullicino, who despite standing a good chance of returning to parliament, still has to battle Graziella Attard Previ – a strong favourite to inherit Robert Arrigo’s votes on the 10th district. 

Pullicino, who contested the 2017 general election on the same district, garnered 1,088 first preference votes. However, Attard Previ is expected to get a strong number of votes once Arrigo’s are distributed in the upcoming casual elections.

The district, a PN stronghold, saw PN candidates Robert Arrigo and Karl Gouder and PD leader Marlene Farrugia securing their seats in parliament. 

A seat is given up when a candidate is elected from more than one district. On Monday evening, by means of a secret vote, the 76 members of the party’s executive present voted on which seats were to be given up by PN leader Simon Busuttil, deputy leader Beppe Fenech Adami, Robert Arrigo, David Agius and Marthese Portelli. 

The executive decided that Agius and Busuttil should give up their seats on District 11; Fenech Adami will be giving up his seat on District 7 while Portelli is giving up her seat on District 13. 

The executive’s decision means that Arrigo – who proved to be the PN’s most popular candidate on District 10 with 4,793 first preference votes – will be forced to forfeit his seat, giving Pullicino and Attard Previ a hard-fought battle. 

In 2013, the executive had opted for Pullicino to give up the seat when both Arrigo and Pullicino were elected from District 10. In 2008, Arrigo ceded his seat on District 9; and he was elected on the tenth district in 2003. 

But the PN executive committee’s decision not to open the votes on District 9, even though it was possible, was not taken kindly to. 

PN candidate Ivan Bartolo took to Facebook to express his regret at the decision: “My short career in politics comes to an end today. The executive members of the PN decided to vote to keep the ninth district closed. I thank all those who believed in a fresh look, in a new beginning and in new progressive positive ideas. Politics is no longer on my radar.” 

On the seventh district, the battle is between Antoine Borg and Sam Abela… followed closely by Godfrey Farrugia. 

The availability of two seats on the 11th district means Mosta mayor Ivan Bartolo (not the Ivan Barolo of the ninth district) and PN treasurer Alex Perici Calascione will likely be elected to the House. 

Finally, on the 13th district, Kevin Cutajar and David Stellini stand the strongest chance of being elected.