Casual Elections: The favourites for the PN seats

PN casual elections today: Five seats, four districts, 30 candidates and 34 nominations

All candidates contesting in casual elections start from zero
All candidates contesting in casual elections start from zero

A day after the Labour Party’s list of MPs was finally completed, today is the turn of the Nationalist Party’s casual elections.

Five seats are up for grabs in four districts: the seat vacated by Beppe Fenech Adami on the seventh district, the seat vacated by Robert Arrigo on the 10th district, the two seats vacated by Simon Busuttil and David Agius on the 11th district, and the seat vacated by Marthese Portelli on the 13th district.

How candidates are elected

In casual elections, the votes of the candidates giving up their seats are distributed among the remaining candidates according to voter preference. This means that having a larger number of first count votes does not give you any advantage over other candidates, although this may be an indication of the standing of the candidate in the district.

In fact all candidates contesting in casual elections start from zero. Some will get back the votes they handed over to the elected candidate when they were eliminated. The donkey vote is also a factor, as a number of voters tend to vote for every candidate in the list after choosing their first and second preference. This means that having a surname starting with A, B or C can be at an advantage over those with a surname starting with an S, T or Z.

Candidates who obtained a higher number of first count votes often stand a better chance of being elected, because it is more likely that they received the number two vote preferences from the elected candidates.

Where do the candidates stand?

District 10

Nick Refalo who contested the election for first time and Gzira local councillor Graziella Attard Previ obtained 2,153 and 1,883 votes respectively by the time they were eliminated, compared to Pullicino’s 2,662. But all candidates will now start from scratch. Attard Previ has one significant advantage over Refalo and Pullicino; her surname. Moreover it may also more difficult for Pullicino to inherit votes from arch- district-rival Arrigo. If elected Refalo is also being seen as a potential contender for a post in the party’s administration or leadership.

District 7

Antoine Borg, who was close to being elected with 3,256 votes, starts as favourite. But like all candidates he will start the casual election with zero votes. Sam Abela, Godfrey Farrugia, David Vassallo and Peter Micallef could also be elected, after finishing relatively close to one another with 1,733, 1,514, 1,105 and 856 votes respectively all have a good chance. Godfrey Farrugia’s election would result in the second PD candidate to be elected on PN list.

District 11

Mosta Mayor Ivan Bartolo, who obtained a significant 2,163 votes, and former deputy PN treasurer Alex Perici Calascione, who received 1,269 votes started aw favourites. Maria Deguara, Alex Mangion, and Graziella Galea may have a chance.

District 13

Kevin Cutajar can potentially take his seat on district 13 after receiving 1,524 votes in the general election. David Stellini could also be in the race, having obtained 1,078 votes by his elimination. The return of the votes transferred from other candidates to Portelli may give Stellini a good chance.