Joseph Muscat salutes victory: ‘Labour movement stronger than ever’

The former Prime Minister says the Labour Party should still analyse why so many people chose not to vote in this year's election

The Labour movement is stronger than ever, former Prime Minister and Labour leader Joseph Muscat said on Sunday after the party secured another landslide victory in Malta’s general election. 

In first comments to the GWU-owned, Muscat harked back to his ‘Labour movement’ - a common rhetoric he employed when guiding the Labour opposition into government before the 2013 election. 

“The movement we gave birth to is not only alive but stronger than ever before,” Muscat said. 

He added that Labour’s political and socio-economic projects had not been carried out for political convenience. “[They] changed Malta and we will continue to change Malta.”

In an indirect reference to the Nationalist Party, Muscat said that the result is a clear sign that negative campaigning does not go down well with the electorate.

However, he made no mention of his successor, and current Labour leader, Robert Abela.

Muscat remarked that the Labour Party should still analyse why so many people chose not to vote in this year’s election. Only 85.5% of eligible voters cast their ballot in the 2022 election – the lowest turnout since postwar elections.

He offered no sympathy towards the Nationalist Party. “The last time the PN won an absolute majority of support for its government programme, under normal circumstances, was in 1992,” Muscat stated, adding that the 1998 election was premature while the 2003 election hinged largely on EU membership. 

“In 2008 there was only a relative majority of less than one seat. Since 2009, the Labour Party has consistently garnered the support of around 55% of the people.”

Joseph Muscat led the Labour Party into government in 2013, but faced controversy early on when his chief of staff Keith Schembri and minister Konrad Mizzi were implicated in the Panama Papers. 

Muscat eventually stepped down as Prime Minister when Schembri and Mizzi resigned in the wake of key developments in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder investigation.