[LIVE] Labour at Hal Far, the final mass-meeting

Follow us on our live-blog for updates on Labour's final mass meeting at the Hal Far racetrack.

Photo: James Galea/MediaToday
Photo: James Galea/MediaToday

Welcome to our live blog from the Hal Far dragstrip. Click here to refresh this blog.

20:52 And with that, we bring to an end the last political activity of this 2013 election. Remember that tomorrow is the 'day of reflection' followed by the Big Day on Saturday. Until the next one.. Ciao!

20:50 Muscat's speech ends here. He is joined on stage by his wife Michelle and deputy leaders Louis Grech and Toni Abela.

20:46 Muscat thanks the delegates for trusting the party's leadership in his hands: "One day, history books will write about today... not about me but about you and the youths of 2013, the protagonists of the change in direction. Let us continue convincing and help me to continue working for a change in direction. Let us unite for change and let us vote with our minds and hearts. Because the only change is that which the PL, this young movement is offering."

Muscat ends his speech in an impassionate plea: "Let Sunday be the day when we wake up to a Malta that is for all".

20:43 Joseph Muscat turns his attention to those who will be voting Labour for the first time.

"A new government will not be vindictive... don't let others scare you. You will be alone in the polling booth." He also urges the people not to give in to provocation and tells them to face this election serenely.

"We will govern with unity and hope and not by scaremongering... and you have a choice between a past that divides and a future which unites."

20:36 Muscat is now thanking deputy leader Toni Abela and "a special thanks to Anglu Farrugia for all his work throughout the years. Because we look forward to a future that unites with optimism... of those who know they are on the right side of history."

"All those who know it's time to vote for change must vote for all the Labour candidates. We need a change in direction to tell those who voted for an increase in bills to show them utility bills can go down. To show that we can have a gas-run power station and to show that we can reduce red tape. You have the duty to vote for change to send a message to those who carried out a fiasco with the public transport reform. Next Saturday is the moment to send a message to those who gave themselves a 500 euro increase. We must tell them that we want an open government, who believes in meritocracy, who is with the citizens for five years."

He says that MPs will not be paid if they don't attend parliamentary sittings. "This is how we want to lead: just like self-employed and workers get paid for their work, MPs should be paid for the work they carry out."

"Saturday is to vote for a country that is free, truly European."

20:29 With open arms and looking up towards the sky, Muscat says his goal in education was to see that every child, irrespective who his or her parents are, to advance in education.

"I will never forget the look in my parents' eyes when I graduated, their son from a working class family. And just like I was the first of my family to graduate I want to see your children graduate. Even if they would be the first from your family to do so. This is my goal."

20:23 Muscat says with proposals to reduce red tape, to reform Mepa and to reduce energy bills will give the country's business a breath of fresh air. "Yes we are pro-business. Let them accuse us of being so. Because being pro-business means that we are in favour of the workers. We want to create a new middle class."

Muscat to those in unemployment: "You are in our thoughts... We will give you work and not numbers. Quality jobs that you deserve."

20:18 "This is the time for change. Next Saturday is the day for change. It's useless wanting change if you don't vote for it. Next Saturday is our historical chance not only to change a government but to create a system that is by everyone for everyone. This opportunity will not turn up next week or in five years' time. The time is Saturday."

In an impassioned speech calling for a Labour vote, Muscat reassures that with Labour's roadmap and "our liberal, European and progressive values you can vote with your heart."

"Just like others voted to give themselves a raise, vote from your heart for the change this country deserves."

20:15 Muscat this evening is again in an introspective mood as he recounts it was his honour and privilege to lead the Labour movement.

"Malta is demanding a movement that throws away tribal politics and move towards national unity. A movement that breaks down barriers, where everyone irrespective of past political beliefs, is his and her natural home. This is the natural home of those who want a country that makes them proud. To say that yes we are proud of our country that leads and is not led; that is a protagonist and not a spectator; that is the best in Europe."

20:13 Muscat says that mistakes in the past have been committed. "I'm not responsible for those mistakes but we will admit they were mistakes and we will shoulder the responsibility for that. We have paid 25 years for those mistakes but now I can come before you to tell you that we have changed and now it's time to change this country."

The Labour leader is on fire... and he has no teleprompter this time.

20:08 The Labour leader is now saying that the PL was the party that gave women the right to vote and it was the PL who reduced voting age to 18. "And if trusted we will also reduce the local councils' voting age to 16. Yes we will be the first country in the European Union to do so and show others what this country can achieve."

As he highlights the importance of separation between Church and State, Muscat says Malta's forefathers stood up against all odds to fight for what was right.

"And that same spirit is reflected in the eyes of our youths. Where are the youths? Where are the youths who will mark a new chapter in our country's history?"

20:05 Muscat is fired up: "After two months of campaigning we are meant to be tired. But no we are full of energy," Muscat say and pauses as the crowd roars "taghna lkoll".

20:02 Joseph Muscat takes the stage - the crowd goes crazy.

19:58 Grech said a Labour government wanted to create a fair and just society. "But what we wish is useless if the electorate doesn't give us the mandate. Let no one threaten our motivation and we can really have a society that truly belongs to all."

19:57 Grech's hoarse voice echoes around the dragstrip as he explains the visions of a new Labour government.

19:56 Deputy leader Louis Grech is addressing the crowd pledging a government which places the citizen at its heart.

"We are ready as a movement to make the first step. We know things will not be easy but we have the energy to face it."

19:51 Alors, le président français François Hollande parlé à à la foule [I hope I got it right there] - Yes, the mass meeting started off with a recording of the French President endorsing the Labour leader. And the crowd just went crazy when they heard the word "Joseph".

19:43 Will.i.am and Britney's Scream & Shout [I wanna scream and shout.. and let it all out] is currently entertaining the crowd. I have a feeling members of the press are sharing the same feeling.

19:38 By our photographer James Galea:

19:35 And here we go: a remix of Labour's trademark song A New Tomorrow is now playing... hopefully a sign that the mass meeting is starting shortly.

Even more people are still arriving... I think Malta today is either in Floriana or Hal Far this evening.

19:31 An aerial shot of Hal Far's 'kwart ta' mil' shows the area fully packed with a sea of white and red flags. It is estimated that the area holds between 40,000 and 50,000 people.

Meanwhile in the press room... journalists are happy munching away on sandwiches, drinking coffee and surfing the net.

19:15 Don't worry we are still here... the one-hour delay has not tired out the crowd that is still partying as if it were the last part of its life. The crowd is in a festive mood now singing along with David Guetta's Without You.

18:27 Sit tight... there is going to be at least a 30-minute delay since many supporters are still stuck in traffic. Labour leader Joseph Muscat is already here and in his trailer preparing for his last address of the 2013 campaign.

18:22 Good evening and welcome to our live-blog from Hal Far. Thousands have already gathered here... thousands others are still blocked on their way, so expect delays. Meanwhile, a live band is entertaining the crowd.

17:30 Our photographer James Galea, sent over this picture of the Labour stage in preparation.