Election Playbook: Bernardinho strikes again, I wonder if he’s caught Joseph Portelli’s eye yet...

Football versus politics, which one do you think Bernardinho will catch Joseph Portelli's eye for? Here’s what day 17 of the election campaign looked like

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Voter abstention declines: People might be slowly warming up to the election as Wednesday’s MaltaToday indicates an 86.1% share of valid votes. There has been an improvement of two percentage points since the first survey on 27 February, but it still falls short of the 2017 election valid votes count at 90.9%. The gap between the two major parties remains at 24,875 votes. 

Back of the net!: Bernardinho is back at it again with a splendid run and goal at MCAST. Grech zipped past students with Messi-esque stature and delivered another goal – the third of the election campaign. It’s a good thing the transfer window is closed now, because I’m sure Ħamrun FC president Joseph Portelli would have placed a bid to the PN leader – whether that’s a football bid or a political one is another question, given Portelli admittedly likes to meet with politicians to “speed up” development processes. 

@pn_tok Not much of a difference is there 😂? #foryou #BernardGrech ♬ original sound - PN_tok

Tax refund theft: Nationalist candidate Jason Azzopardi said that the PN would not axe any tax refund cheques, despite such claims from the Labour Party. Indeed, the Labour Party even set up a billboard claiming that Bernard Grech, as PN leader, would axe the tax refund scheme that sees workers refunded between €45-€95. Azzopardi instead pointed to a pledges in the manifesto that speak of a tax credits system while lowering the top rate for those earning €60,000 and €80,000. 

The meat of the matter: Vegan activists want government to introduce a tax on meat and dairy products in the same way cigarettes have an excise duty. Additionally, plant-based milks should have a 0% VAT rate and state-owned public places like hospitals and schools should offer plant-based options. For fish, the activisits want to designate 50% of Maltese territorial waters as fishing free, and new animal factory farms should be supported in transitioning out of animal agriculture and into new sustainable plant-based agriculture. 

Would Cassola lie to you?: Cassola remains the most interesting candidate of the election as he continues to mount pressure on Infrastructure Malta. Cassola claimed that the roads agency wants to build a new road from the St Paul’s Bay roundabout outside Burmarrad, crossing into the fields behind the Kiabi complex. Infrastructure Malta called it an “outright lie”, recalling a 1988 proposal that resembles his allegations but never got off the ground.  

Set in concrete: ADPD hit out at works on a €1.5 million roof garden project in Ħamrun which saw a surface car park roofed over with a garden on top. In fact, the structure as it stands now looks less like a garden and more like a lost UFO, although the project is still a work in progress. The party said that urban renewal efforts should aim to improve community facilities and open spaces, not to erect “a concrete umbrella for cars”. 

Any new proposals?: Bernard Grech said that a Nationalist Party government would have a minister dedicated solely to sports, as well as a €40 million fund to ease import and export costs. The Labour Party pledged to offer remote glucose monitoring to all patients of Type 1 diabetes while offering gender reassignment surgery for free

What’s happening today: The Labour Party is holding an activity in Pembroke at 6:30pm. The Nationalist Party will be in Għargħur for an activity at 6pm.