[LIVE] Labour majority is officially at 42,656 with 54.3%, PN gets 37.9%

Labour win European elections and take fourth MEP seat • PN leader Adrian Delia shows no signs of stepping down

Labour Party volunteers and counting staff celebrate their electoral victory
Labour Party volunteers and counting staff celebrate their electoral victory
07:49 (3) Major disappointment for Alternattiva Demokratika: leader Carmel Cacopardo obtained just 1,021 votes and Mina Tolu got 845, with a final vote count of 1,689 and 929 votes.

Former AD chairperson Arnold Cassola, who broke away from AD over a tiff on abortion, polled 2,217 votes, and ended up with 2,858.

Combined, this ‘green vote’ would have been at least 4,000 votes… and together with PD, would have been at least 8,000…. Perhaps good enough to counter the far-right surge.

A lesson on ideological vanity and petty tiffs on issues!
Matthew Vella
07:45 The other news (2) is the surprise showing by Cami Appelgren, the Swedish ‘clean-up’ activist who joined Partit Demokratiku, and who broke ranks with PD leader Godfrey Farrugia’s conservatism with her pro choice stand on abortion. She polled an impressive 3,052 first-count votes: so Appelgren’s visibility on Facbeook as the face of national clean-campaigns worked – the data proves as much, because PD MP and leader Godfrey Farrugia (former Labour whip who ran with the PN’s Forza Nazzjonali coalition) ‘only’ got 1,668 (unimpressive).

She ended with 5,154 votes. Well done, Cami!
Matthew Vella
07:39 The highlights are (1) Far-right firebrand and Nazi apologist Norman Lowell has improved his vote count over 2014 by obtaining 9,693 final vote count - claims of being Malta's 'third party' are exaggerated in a European election, but yes, the far-right has taken the non-mainstream vote at the expense of other smaller parties.

After Lowell was eliminated, of these votes 6,151 were non-transferable, indicating that some two-thirds of his total vote was for him alone. The rest fell on the last remaining PN and PL candidates. Chew on that, voters.
Matthew Vella
07:30 Just posted the official first-count votes here below Matthew Vella
07:10 Roberta Metsola (PN) obtained 38,206 first count votes and David Casa obtained 20,493 first count votes. Matthew Vella
07:08 Good morning:

Labour’s majority is of 42,656 votes – not 51,500 as originally reported.

Labour got 141,267 votes (54.29%), while the PN got 98,611 votes (37.9%).

As expected, Labour MEPs Miriam Dalli (63,438) and Alfred Sant (26.592) are re-elected, together with candidates Alex Agius Saliba (18,808) and Josianne Cutajar (15,603). Incumbents Roberta Metsola and David Casa for the PN are re-elected.
Matthew Vella
00:51 We will continue this live-blog tomorrow morning. Matthew Vella
23:18 There will be changes in the majority first announced by Joseph Muscat: quite a radical adjustment, possibly down to well below 50,000 if not in the mid-40,000s. Matthew Vella
22:55 On the basis of the same unofficial vote estimates, Norman Lowell (IE) could be looking at anything between 8,5000 to 10,000 votes, while the PD's Cami Appelgren could get over 3,000 votes while the party leader and MP Godfrey Farrugia gets just 1,700. Arnold Cassola, formerly of AD, could be looking at over 2,000 votes, while the Greens altogether get 2,000 votes. Again these are unofficial vote estimates based on approximate counts. Matthew Vella
22:52 Of some 270,000 valid votes, there are still some 30,000 to be verified: we are looking at Miriam Dalli (PL) with approximately 65,000 votes, Roberta Metsola (PN) with approx. 42,000 votes, Alfred Sant (PL) with approx. 27,000, David Casa (PN) with approx. 22,000, Alex Agius Saliba (PL) with 18,000, and Josianne Cutajar with approx. 15,000 votes.

These are just unofficial and approximate vote counts.
Matthew Vella
19:44 Labour sources say they are expecting to see Miriam Dalli, Alfred Sant, Alex Agius Saliba, and Josianne Cutajar elected. Matthew Vella
18:37 PN leader Adrian Delia is at the counting hall.
Matthew Vella
18:03 Here is the full press conference from Adrian Delia

Matthew Vella
17:57 Opposition leader Adrian Delia has indicated he will not resign in the face of a humiliating defeat in the European Parliament elections.
The PN suffered a major defeat in the 2019 European elections, with unofficial vote projections putting the party at just over 36%, while Labour looking to an unprecedented 51,000 vote majority with 55.9% of the vote.
"We are not going to abandon the road we have taken... we must meet more people, more social partners, more institutions, and civil society. We must understand their needs and how to represent them."
Delia said that the PN should not lose heart even in the face of "trying times", and made an appeal to reach out for the youth vote.
"The people have spoken and the result is clear," he said of Labour's victory which resulted in the PN losing their third MEP seat.
"We are still the second largest party in the country and we have an obligation to represent these people the best way possible. We are obliged to understand why we haven't yet won the respect of these voters. We have to understand their aspirations and why they have not chosen us to be their voice."
Delia said the PN had been passing through great challenges, which he described as the "worst time possible for the PN".
He said the PN would be humble and cautious in trying to understand why voters had not chosen the party in these elections.
"We cannot lose heart... this party can be of service to the country. We must welcome those who can help us in this voyage, and I invite those who are willing to help us. Take courage."
Matthew Vella
17:36 In a statement, the chairperson of Alternattiva Demokratika Carmel Cacopardo, thanked all those voters who voted for the party. "It is still too early to comment on how the party fared given that only a third of votes have been counted. It seems however that a bigger percentage of voters than usual have decided to associate themselves with the politics of hate. This is worrying because this might lead to the bigger parties to pander to this culture rather than work against it. For decency's sake as a nation, Maltese politics should understand and engage with xenophobia in a way which never ceases to uphold values of humanity and solidarity." Matthew Vella
16:24 The Labour Party is expected to get 55.9% of the vote, according to more refined poll projections. The gap between the PL and the Nationalist Party has now surpassed the 51,000 vote mark, a 19.7-point advantage.

The new projections are the result of more ballots being scanned. The larger sample has seen the PL gain, while the PN lose more ground.

The PN is expected to obtain 36.2% of the vote, its worst result in decades.

The PL is projected to take four seats, versus the PN’s two.
Matthew Vella
16:14 ‘We Deserve Better’ say posters affixed outside PN clubs

Signs of ‘we deserve better’ are being seen affixed to the doors of Nationalist Party clubs in different localities including Sliema, St Paul’s Bay, Swieqi and St Julian’s. It seems that the printed pages plastered around these localities are presented in the same style, which means that they have likely come from the same source. It is not known whether an individual or a group is behind the message of disappointment.

The PN has lost with a record number of votes, a stipulated margin of over 50,000 votes, but the party’s secretary general, Clyde Puli, said that this result still “augurs well for the future.” The PN is yet to announce a press conference in the wake of a massive electoral defeat.
Matthew Vella
15:24 PN secretary general Clyde Puli says that MEP election result 'augurs well for future'

The Nationalist Party Secretary General Clyde Puli said that the vast win for the Labour Party still augurs well for the party’s future. “Let’s not forget that during this past year, surveys suggested that the PN might lose by 88,000 votes or 75,000 votes. This hasn’t happened and the result is very similar to that of the last general election,” Puli told NET TV.

Puli confirmed that Sunday’s result will likely mean that the PN would lose its third seat in the European Parliament. He added that the 2014 MEP elections saw the PN winning its third seat via inheritance votes, but that this time, this possibility is remote. “The PN didn’t just come out of a massive electoral defeat in the last general election but the aftermath of that as well: anxieties, concerns and narratives of how the party was split in two. The party will take lessons from this result because the people have spoken but after the PN’s modest electoral campaign, the result showed that the PN has been consolidated,” Puli said.

“This augurs well for the future, that if we carry on with our method of campaigning, we will start seeing results,” he said.

Commenting on the low turnout in typically Nationalist strongholds, Puli said that in the tenth district especially, consisting of areas like Gzira, Sliema and St Julian’s, there was a significant drop in voter turnout. This, he said, was indicative of misapprehension and a communication breakdown with typically Nationalist voters in these areas. “We need to listen to these people and speak to these people. We need to start taking lessons and see what changes and fine-tuning need to be made,” Puli said.

He added that by 2020, the PN needed to be a viable alternative to a Labour government.
Matthew Vella
15:10 Statement issued by Partit Demokratiku leader and MEP Candidates

"We would like to thank all the voters who voted for us at yesterday's European Parliament election and we are humbled by those voters who share our vision. Our party was founded 3 years ago to offer new hope from the centre of Maltese politics. We want to be the beating heart of clean and honest politics. We believe in everyone's dignity and will continue striving for better quality of life for all. To these we say: Thank you. Your vote encourages us to carry on working for a better Malta.

"We have a big responsibility upon us. Nearly 30 per cent of voters have sent a clear message: They think politics is broken beyond fixing and have chosen to not vote. To these we say: We are hearing you loud and clear. We agree you deserve better and will double down on our work. Today we continue the journey that was started three years ago. We will launch an internal review process to see how we can continue building a future of balanced and reasoned politics and will announce more details in the coming days.
Matthew Vella
14:31 Here is the full speech of Joseph Muscat to Labour supporters in Hamrun.
Matthew Vella

Muscat was flanked by his wife and children, as well as deputy leaders Chris Fearne and Chris Cardona, and Labour MEP Miriam Dalli.

“As a country we’ve shown that what unites is greater than what divides us. This country does not want division, but unity. I thank you for giving this movement your trust, for the tenth time in a row,” Muscat said.

“There has never been any political movement that accomplished what we manage to achieve.”

Muscat warned jubilant supporters that his party would not allow itself to allow the electoral result, a mid-term acclamation of the government, go to its head.

“This historic result burdens us with greater responsibility.

“I will see that myself, our ministers and MPs keep their feet to the ground – we must be of service to the people, and with the people. I make my appeal for national unity among all of us.”

Matthew Vella
14:26 Here's what Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told Labour supporters outside the Mile End HQ. Matthew Vella
13:28 Celebrations underway outside Labour HQ on the Mile End road in Hamrun

Matthew Vella
13:12 It goes without saying that MaltaToday's polls have been vindicated: check out our latest data here. Matthew Vella
12:48 To go by statistician Vince Marmara's own forecast, we are set for a surprise showing by the far-right

Matthew Vella
12:06 PN deputy leader Robert Arrigo says it could have been worse...

Matthew Vella
11:56 On Net TV, PN secretary-general Clyde Puli confirms that Labour will win fourth seat. Matthew Vella
11:39 Apart from the Labour landslide, the other topic of discussion here is the far right firebrand Norman Lowell's showing, who could outperform third parties Matthew Vella
11:13 Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is on TVM and in a phone-in says that Labour is expecting a 55% win, with the biggest majority in history of 17 points, and the PN at 37%, giving Labour their fourth seat in the EP. Matthew Vella
11:02 On PBS, Labour sources quoted projecting a 45,000 vote majority. Matthew Vella
10:37 Kurt Sansone inside the counting hall is telling us that while party counting staff have taken their samples, this is taking longer than usual - remember, they are not taking samples from packets of 50 ballots from each individual ballot box from every polling station. So sampling is taking longer. Matthew Vella
10:34 Scanning is underway, though the process will take its time, Labour sources have told us. That means we have yet some more waiting time before a better estimate of the result. Matthew Vella
10:25 Scanning of votes at the counting hall

Matthew Vella
10:19 We are back live again Matthew Vella

10:15 Votes are being scanned right now. Matthew Vella
10:04 Vote checking is underway and parties are taking samples. Matthew Vella
09:32 Agents are all primed waiting for the ballots to start being turned facing upwards. We are waiting for this process to start within minutes. Matthew Vella
09:23 PN secretary-general Clyde Puli and MP Karol Aquilina have entered the counting hall Matthew Vella
09:16 Former PN councillor Charlot Cassar says the results of the election will push the PN to four scenarios: (1) A new leadership election with Delia taking responsibility for the defeat and moving out; (2) the leadership does not budge with no members taking action; (3) an internal battle to move Delia out; (4) alternatively, a transitionary leadership takes control of the party to work towards a new leadership election. "We need humility, goodwill and political maturity."

Matthew Vella
09:11 Photos from the counting hall: click on the Facebook timestamp to see more

Matthew Vella
09:02 If the unofficial projections are correct, the PN could be below the 40% mark Matthew Vella
08:51 Labour sources are projecting a 56% win according to initial observations on sampled ballots, fourth seat for Labour looking likely. Matthew Vella
08:26 Official turnout figures have changed, because advance voters had not been calculated - it is now 72.6% Matthew Vella
08:08 The head of Labour's electoral office Louis Gatt says that some sorting was necessary to fish out local council ballot sheets from the boxes of the European Parliament ballots, and vice-versa, so reconciliation took much longer than expected. The Gozo ballot boxes are yet to be sorted. This has delayed the start of the sampling and scanning of ballots. Matthew Vella
07:47 Check out how the districts compare: low turnout in northern districts that are more Nationalist leaning (12th and 10th), big turnout in Gozo suggesting a good showing for Labour, slightly lower turnout in third district READ IT HERE Matthew Vella
07:46 Official turnout at 70.1%, four points down from 2014, with really low turnouts in Nationalist strongholds. Matthew Vella
07:30 Saviour Balzan: If MaltaToday’s surveys are proven correct, we are looking at a 44,000-vote difference between Joseph Muscat’s party and Adrian Delia. If that does materialise, then Adrian Delia should go • READ IT HERE READ IT HERE Matthew Vella
07:29 Independent (formerly Nationalist MP) Hermann Schiavone, an electoral expert, is already forecasting a big Labour victory:

Matthew Vella
07:28 he vote-checking process was expected to start at 7am, but it has now been delayed by an hour. This is the process where ballots get turned face up, and party counting staff visually inspect any marks that might disrupt the counting process. Matthew Vella
07:28 Quite unprecedented is the fact that Malta has no official turnout results from yesterday. The Electoral Commission in the past has been timely with its 2pm and 10pm final turnouts, yet yesterday's turnouts were issued four hours after the 2pm deadline; and up to now, there are still no official turnouts. Matthew Vella
07:28 he counting hall in Naxxar is all quiet as ballots are being placed face down. Indications suggest that the turnout is similar, or slightly less than five years ago (official turnout has not yet been communicated). With an increased voter base and turnouts giving the traditionally Labour districts an edge, it is very plausible we could be looking at a bigger vote difference between PL and PN than the last general election. Matthew Vella
07:28 Good morning: we'll be live from the electoral counting hall here at the former trade fair halls in Naxxar. Keep following our livestream as we prepare to go live with any unofficial results that come in. Matthew Vella