Shockwaves inside Labour as fabled supermajority is decimated to 8,500

As it happened | Here is how the the six MEPs representing Malta in Brussels were elected on Sunday

Robert Abela at the Counting Hall on Sunday
Robert Abela at the Counting Hall on Sunday
23:54 And we’re done!

Thank you for following our live blog today. We spotted quite a few of you looking at our live blog in the Counting Hall itself – we’re flattered! We will be back with more election coverage when it’s time to count the local council votes. Until then, follow MaltaToday for the latest news and analysis. Good night!
Nicole Meilak
23:52 A recap before we clock off

It’s been a long, long day at the Naxxar Counting Hall, but we’ve been reporting every step of the way. Before we clock off, here’s a recap of the results so far.

PL: 45.3%
PN: 42%
Cassola: 4.9%
Imperium Europa: 2.6%
Conrad Borg Manche: 2.3%
ADPD: 1.2%
Others: 1.7%

The elected MEPs are: Roberta Metsola, Alex Agius Saliba, Peter Agius, David Casa, Daniel Attard, Thomas Bajada.

Vote gap: 8,454
Nicole Meilak
23:48 The unpopular PLPN candidates

Jesmond Marshall was the first candidate from the two main parties to be eliminated. Indeed, he was eliminated on the 19th count with 873 votes.

The next candidate to be eliminated from the two parties was Miriana Calleja Testaferrata De Noto. She was eliminated on the 21st count with 1,130 votes.

After this point it was a back and forth between the Labour and Nationalist Party. Jesmond Bonello was eliminated with 1,264 votes and Lee Bugeja Bartolo followed with 1,697 votes. Then it was Louise Anne Pulis who was eliminated with 1,896 votes.
Nicole Meilak
23:43 A few other quirks

In the Partit Abba camp, it was actually Tania Gauci Fiorini that got the highest amount of votes, over double that of Ivan Grech Mintoff, who resigned as party leader last week.

Apparently, Nazareno Bonnici ‘tal-Ajkla’ got slightly more votes than Ivan Grech Mintoff, and even beat university academic Simon Mercieca by nine votes.

And the third most popular independent candidate was, in fact, James Ryder! It seems like the Love Island Malta spots worked.
Nicole Meilak
23:39 ADPD’s votes

Mina Jack Tolu was the first to be eliminated from the election on count 10 with 215 votes. From these, Sandra Gauci received 93 votes, Rachelle Deguara received 25, and Ralph Cassar received 24.

Rachelle Deguara was next to be eliminated on the 15th count with 369 votes. From these, 184 votes went to Sandra Gauci and 61 went to Ralph Cassar.

Shortly after, on the 17th count, Ralph Cassar was eliminated with 715 votes. From these, 511 went to Sandra Gauci.
Nicole Meilak
23:33 The Metsola effect

Metsola alone got 80% of the PN vote, a complete record of first-count votes in Malta’e electoral history. This is a third of all valid votes cast.
Nicole Meilak
23:32 Sandra Gauci’s votes

The ADPD chairperson was eliminated on the 26th count with 3,603 votes. From these, there were 1,314 non-transferrable votes while 942 ballots went to Arnold Cassola.
Nicole Meilak
23:30 Conrad Borg Manche’s votes

Borg Manche was eliminated on the 29th count with 7,641 votes. From these, 3,290 went Cassola’s way, while 722 went to Norman Lowell. There were 1,713 non-transferrable votes.
Nicole Meilak
23:28 Norman Lowell’s votes

The biggest winner from Norman Lowell’s elimination was, ironically, Arnold Cassola. Over 1,300 votes went Cassola’s way on this count. However, the majority of votes were non-transferrable. The second-biggest winner from Lowell’s elimination was Claudette Abela Baldacchino.
Nicole Meilak
23:23 Arnold Cassola eliminated on the 34th count

Independent candidate Arnold Cassola managed to increase his votes by almost 10,000 across the counts, but was ultimately eliminated on the 34th count. His votes helped elect Peter Agius and David Casa – it was after the 34th count that the two MEPs were elected.
Nicole Meilak
23:21 Alex Agius Saliba’s votes

Agius Saliba’s second-preference votes went primarily to Daniel Attard, which was also expected. Claudette Abela Baldacchino received 4,187 votes from Agius Saliba, while Clint Azzopardi Flores received 4,018.

Abela Baldacchino lost out on the third seat by roughly 500 votes.
Nicole Meilak
23:19 Metsola’s votes

Metsola and Agius Saliba received higher first-count votes than what was first being projected. Metsola received 87,473 first-count votes and Alex Agius Saliba received 63,899.

As was expected, David Casa received a whopping 23,087 votes from Metsola, and Peter Agius received 11,633. David Agius received 7,014 while Arnold Cassola received 2,490.
Nicole Meilak
23:16 Results are out

The election results are officially out. You can find each count here
Nicole Meilak
22:57 We’re still at the Counting Hall!

Yes, we’re still here. In fact, we’re almost the last ones standing. We will be here until we get the official final results from the Electoral Commission. They’re waiting till 11pm to release their results because that is the official time they can legally announce the figures. This is because the polls close at 11pm in Italy – they’re the last country to close the polls for the European election.
Nicole Meilak
22:32 How Labour lost its supermajority

The biggest newspoint of the day is Labour’s diminished supermajority, with the final vote gap looking more like 8,500 than the 40,000 of 2019. But what led to Labour losing its supermajority?

1. Instead of boosting Labour’s turn-out, Joseph Muscat may have turned off middle-of-the-road voters and energised the PN-Metsola vote
2. Labour has lost the unity advantage
3. Labour had a poor line-up of candidates
4. Labour tried too hard to win big. The power of incumbency to prop up its supermajority was seen as an act of desperation
5. The PN was not a threat in this election
Nicole Meilak
22:11 Here are your MEPs

Nicole Meilak
22:00 Result at 11pm

The final result will now be published at 11pm. From the Nationalist Party side it’s clear that the elected MEPs are Metsola, Casa and Peter Agius.
Nicole Meilak
21:44 PN results any minute now

Follow our live stream to see the action as it happens.

Nicole Meilak
21:33 PN waiting on official result

Nationalist Party supporters are gathered around the perspex ready to celebrate their seat wins. They’re likely to get three seats for Metsola, Casa and Peter Agius.
Nicole Meilak
21:32 In France, Macron calls snap parliamentary election

French President Emmanuel Macron has dissolved the country’s parliament and called a snap election after an exit poll showed his Renaissance party is set to be trounced by the far-right opposition in European parliamentary elections on Sunday. Exit polls show the far-right National Rally (RN) party has come out on top with 31.5% of the vote, more than double the share of Macron's Renaissance party, which scraped into second place with 15.1%.
Nicole Meilak
21:20 Malta’s elected MEPs

It all points to the following MEPs being elected: Roberta Metsola, David Casa, Peter Agius for the PN, and Alex Agius Saliba, Daniel Attard, and Thomas Bajada for the PL.
Nicole Meilak
21:14 Labour’s elected candidates

Loud cheers erupted through the Counting Hall as Labour candidate Thomas Bajada made his way to the Counting Hall. It seems that he has been elected on the Labour Party ticket.

This means the three predicted Labour MEPs are Alex Agius Saliba, Daniel Attard and Thomas Bajada.
Nicole Meilak
20:53 Michael Falzon: ‘Vote gap stands at around 8,000’

Labour minister Michael Falzon has just said on party media that the vote gap should stand at around 8,000, pending a few remaining adjudications left to be done. “It seems clear that certain candidates are the forerunners. There’s no official confirmation from the Commission, but from the initial estimates it is very clear.”
Nicole Meilak
20:40 PN celebrating third seat victory

The Nationalist Party secured its third MEP seat. When news of this reached the Counting Hall, supporters started to sing the Nationalist Party anthem and chanted ‘Tsunami, tsunami’ in a dig towards Joseph Muscat.
Nicole Meilak
20:36 First count over

The first counting of votes is officially over. A Nationalist Party official told MaltaToday that they will try to narrow down the period allowed at law for political parties to verify the results. They’re hoping to bring it down to two hours, after which we will know who our six MEPs will be.
Nicole Meilak
20:30 A tale of two counting halls

Towards the outer part of the Counting Hall, the Nationalist Party supporters are jubilant, shouting ‘Give us your seat’. On the inside area of the hall, the Labour Party supporters are visibly irritated, singing ‘You won’t enter Castille’. A line of police officials separate the two.

Nicole Meilak
20:23 First count coming to a close

There’s cheer and banging on the perspex from inside the Counting Hall, particularly from Nationalist Party supporters. They’re cheering for Roberta Metsola.

Nicole Meilak
20:17 Peter Agius: ‘People wanted a wave of change’

When he arrived at the Counting Hall, Nationalist candidate Peter Agius said he always worked “to help every single person who reached out”.

“We have to wait for the official results, but it is clear that we wanted a wave of change, and we managed to make it happen,” he said. “We can change how politics works in this country, and we can be a force for change.”

A number of party officials have confirmed that Agius is well-placed to get elected. Asked whether he expected such slim margins between the two parties, he said he never let figures distract him. “I believe that what we were offering, is valid for everyone in this country.”

Nicole Meilak
19:57 Digesting Labour’s figures

Labour’s figures indicate a vote gap of 5,711. However, the figures provided by Labour’s electoral chief do not include early voting. And there are 22,000 people who voted early. This could have an effect on the vote gap, but not much on the performance of the candidates.
Nicole Meilak
19:52 Labour releases figures

Louis Gatt, Labour’s electoral chief, has just provided the following figures for first-count votes.

Roberta Metsola: 81,130
Alex Agius Saliba: 58,316
Arnold Cassola: 12,884
Daniel Attard: 10,634
Thomas Bajada: 9,601
Steve Ellul: 8,670
Peter Agius: 8,640
Claudette Abela Baldacchino: 8,284
Nicole Meilak
19:34 Metsola’s second-count votes

We are also receiving unofficial projections of where Metsola’s second-count votes could go. As expected, 45% will go David Casa’s way, but considerable amounts will head to Peter Agius, followed by David Agius. Cassola could also receive around 3,600 votes.
Nicole Meilak
19:31 Voting update

There’s less than 10% of votes left to be scanned and verified, and PN sources are revising their numbers to a vote gap of around 7,000 votes.

Nationalist Party sources are also telling us that Metsola received around 90,000 first-count votes – a record number in electoral history, beating the previous record held by Simon Busuttil of almost 69,000 in 2009.
Nicole Meilak
18:59 Metsola, Agius Saliba surpass the quota – but who will inherit?

It’s clear at this point that Metsola and Agius Saliba will be elected to the European Parliament, with both having reached the quota by now.

There are very few votes left to count, mostly in the 13th district. The question now will be who will stand to gain from the Metsola’s and Agius Saliba’s transferrable votes.
Nicole Meilak
18:55 Gap down to 5,500?

Former PN MP Jason Azzopardi took to Facebook around an hour ago claiming that the vote gap is at around 5,473. And he’s not the only one talking about a 5,500 vote gap. All we know so far is that Metsola and Agius Saliba should be elected on the first-count, with plenty of leftover votes from Metsola set to be distributed across other candidates, but particularly among PN candidates, and possibly even to third parties.

Nicole Meilak
18:41 Metsola, Agius Saliba, Cassola still in the top three

With 84% of votes scanned and 82% verified, the top three candidates are Roberta Metsola from the PN, Alex Agius Saliba from the PL, and Arnold Cassola as an independent candidate.

Nicole Meilak
18:12 Could this be the worst-ever result for Labour?

If the Labour Party is really on par to secure only 44.7% of votes, this would be Labour’s worst ever result in a European election. Between 2009 and 2019 Labour always achieved an absolute majority. However, in 2004 Labour held a relative majority of around 48.4%.

A relative majority for Labour and a non-PLPN candidate a strong contender? The parallels are uncanny 20 years later.
Nicole Meilak
18:01 Alex Agius Saliba: ‘We must see what we could do better’

PL MEP Alex Agius Saliba told journalists on Sunday that the Labour Party is still the party of choice for the majority of the electorate, and the result has shown that. But we must also read the message the people have given us, and act on it, he said.

“We must see what we could do better,” he told journalists at the counting hall on Sunday afternoon. “We still believe the Labour Party is the party of choice to lead Malta and represent it abroad.”

Asked whether the Vitals inquiry had any effect on the campaign, he said it definitely did, and would have liked to discuss a European vision for Malta, rather than discuss such issues.

Nicole Meilak
17:49 PN projecting 5.8k vote gap

PN party sources are now indicating that the votegap could have dipped to 5,800 votes, with Labour only benefitting from a 44.67% share of the vote. The Nationalist Party is clinging on to a 42.52% vote share.
Nicole Meilak
17:29 ADPD chairperson Sandra Gauci says she will stay on as leader

During a press conference at the Counting Hall, ADPD chairperson Sandra Gauci said she will stay on as Green Party leader.

”It is clear that people have decided that voting for a party is associated with somethingthat is unclean,” she said in an analysis of why people did not vote for ADPD.

This is interesting to note when its former leader, Arnold Cassola, is the third most popular candidate in the first counting of votes. He contested this election as an independent candidate, and had stepped away from the Green Party over a disagreement on their stance on abortion.
Nicole Meilak
17:21 Former Labour minister gives his two cents

Chris Cardona has provided his own analysis of Labour’s result on Sunday, sharing three main takeaways.

Firstly, he asks what exactly the Labour Party gained from this victory. “It only won because it got a few thousand more votes than the PN. Nothing more, nothing less.”

Secondly, the Cardona says the Nationalist Party has no reason to celebrate either, since it failed to attract Labour Party votes. “They almost collectively chose to vote for independent candidates,” he said.

And thirdly, Cardona says there were many Labour supporters who told him this was their first election not voting for the Labour Party. “Roll up your sleeves, hear the people and pay attention to them.”

Nicole Meilak
17:10 PN wins Gozo

Party sources have told us that the Nationalist Party seems to have won over Gozo in terms of first-count votes, securing around a 46% share. Meanwhile, the same sources indicate the Labour share is 42.8%.
Nicole Meilak
16:56 Former PN communications chief gives analysis of survey discrepancies

The Nationalist Party’s former communications director, Alessandro Farrugia, said that the PN is celebrating a defeat, but in reality it is a great victory for the party, in that they are celebrating what seemed to be impossible till now.

Meanwhile, Farrugia says the Labour Party is celebrating an illusion. “It knows that in the bigger scheme of things it is split into a thousand pieces,” he wrote.

Nicole Meilak
16:37 Roberta Metsola to secure two quotas

It’s looking to be a historic day for Metsola and Malta’s electoral history. MaltaToday is hearing that she is on par to secure not only one quota but two. This means there could be plenty of second-preference votes to inherit from her, spelling good fortune for the Nationalist Party and possibly some third candidates like Cassola.
Nicole Meilak
16:18 Former unionist calls for post-mortem

Former GWU official now Labour TV host and pundit Manuel Micallef posts this on Facebook claiming Labour's campaign was carried by the Prime Minister alone, and that ministers did not pull their weight throughout the EP campaign.

Nicole Meilak
15:59 Abela on Labour’s dampened victory: ‘We hear your message’

Abela addressed the crowd in full knowledge that Labour’s Pyrrhic victory at the European elections had cost its massive supermajority, with estimates at the time of writing expected a gap of less than 10,000 votes.

“Your decision has sent us a message of trust, but also other messages which we have understood well,” Abela told Labour supporters in Ħamrun.“We will be replying to this message, with our work, with a clear message that carries our humility, that we will be keeping our fingers on the pulse, and be more sensitive to your needs.”

“While others celebrate a loss,” he said, referring to the PN, “I am here not to celeberate a victory, but to tell you that I hear your message, with great humility. People want a better version of Labour, of myself first and foremost. As of tomorrow, my team will be rolling up its sleeves and work better towards your interest.”
Nicole Meilak
15:50 Abela addresses supporters at Mile End

Abela is speaking to supporters outside Labour HQ. While previous leaders have usually addressed the crowd from the balcony, he’s opted to speak from a platform on the ground.
Nicole Meilak
15:44 Meanwhile at Mile End

Labour supporters at Mile End are currently waiting for Prime Minister Robert Abela to make his speech following the party's victory.As more and more people fill up the street, some supporters who spoke to this newspaper expressed their satisfaction with the election result.

The majority of those who gave their comment admitted that they were a bit shocked at the reduced vote gap, adding that the final result is still subject to change. One man commented on the fact that some PN supporters are claiming that the reduced vote gap represents a slap on the wrist for the PL.

He likened the PN to Malta's national football team's performance in recent years. "They used to lose 10-0, now they lost 2-0," he joked.

Meanwhile, the PL's parliamentary group are making their way to the party's HQ, with ministers and MPs seen making their way through the crowd.

Nicole Meilak
15:39 Gap down to below 10,000

We are being told that the gap between the two major parties has continued to decrease as vote counting progresses. The latest figure that has come our way is a vote gap of around 9,000. This would represent a massive decline in the fortunes of the Labour Party, despite the jubilation.
Nicole Meilak
15:06 Metsola: The Maltese have spoken

After a celebration lap around the Counting Hall, Metsola thanked youths specifically for bringing out the vote, as well as party volunteers. MaltaToday asked her whether she feels this to be a show of trust in her as a politician, to have her come down and be more active locally, to which she responded that she makes no difference between local and European politics.

Nicole Meilak
14:37 Robert Metsola at the counting hall:

"The Maltese have spoken – there has been a positive turnout for European and local elections. We are celebrating a democratic process that has worked and we can keep working on it."
Nicole Meilak
14:28 Ian Borg: All hands on deck – we need to heed the voters’ message

Foreign minister Ian Borg has cautioned Labour to heed the implicit message sent to the party by those who did vote in the 2024 European elections.

“I am sure that it pained those Labour voters not to vote for the party in these elections. We must understand what that hurt means. We cannot ignore it – we would be hurting these voters once again if we do not seek them out and listen to what they have to say,” Borg said.

Borg was speaking on One TV during the ongoing party analyses taking place throughout the afternoon. “So it’s all hands on deck now – let’s go out there and understand what our voters have told us,” Borg said.
Nicole Meilak
14:19 Cracks in the PL?

Meanwhile, outside Labour HQ some supporters are describing the reduced vote gap as a warning to the party. One supporter who spoke to MaltaToday spoke of small cracks within the PL, referring to former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s court arraignment last month.

He likened the situation with the divide within the PN, when ex-leader Adrian Delia was ousted from his post.
Nicole Meilak
14:16 Rapturous applause for Roberta Metsola

The PN’s star candidate has made her way to the Counting Hall, greeted by applause from party supporters. Metsola, who has been President of the European Parliament since January 2022, could receive a historic amount of first-preference votes. Current voting indications show her to be squarely in the lead, and well ahead of Labour’s Alex Agius Saliba.
Nicole Meilak
14:07 So who’s in the lead?

There are a lot of photos going around of these bar charts. Thisis being shared by the Electoral Commission, and it shows the progress being made on first-count votes and where those votes are going. As is to be expected, a huge chunk of the votes are going Roberta Metsola’s way, with a smaller but still sizeable chunk going to Alex Agius Saliba. In third place is independent candidate Arnold Cassola. However, there’s still a long way to go until we get the full picture of first-count votes. This is just a snapshot at 35% of votes scanned.

Nicole Meilak
14:05 Moviment Graffitti reaction – Andre Callus

“I can’t understand why we’re only talking about the ‘gap’ between the PL and the PN when it comes to interpreting the vote of the European Parliament, and taking this as an indication of people’s trust in one party or the other.

“This is not a football game. The race between the PL and the PN is just one aspect of the significance of an election like this. All the gap shows us is how well/poorly one party did relative to the other. But it doesn’t show us much in terms of social support and the message that people want to convey.

“It could be – and so far, it seems to be the case – that both major parties have lost votes. In this case, the gap between the PL and the PN would have decreased only because of a haemorrhage of votes from the Labour Party, and not because of increased trust in the Nationalist Party.

”This would mean two things:

“1. For the Labour Party, the result is much worse than it appears, because the PL is maintaining an advantage only thanks to the weakness of the Nationalist Party. But in reality, the support it is losing in society is much more widespread than the gap with the PN shows.

“2. It would be pathetic if the Nationalist Party were to celebrate such a result, because the loss of trust in the Labour Party does not appear to be translating into significant trust in the Nationalist Party.”
Nicole Meilak
14:00 How Labour lost its supermajority: five main take-aways

Nobody doubted that Labour was headed for victory, but any margin of victory below 20,000 is a bad result for Robert Abela’s party. In this article, senior journalist James Debono lays out the reasons by Labour lost its supermajority.
Nicole Meilak
13:49 Grech: ‘The public won today’

In comments to the press, Grech said today’s result is a victory for the public.

“Let’s avoid unnecessary discourse. We didn’t just reach our target but exceeded it. We’re confident that our duty is towards the Maltese and Gozitan people.”

The PN leader was greeted with rapturous applause by party supporters at the Naxxar counting hall, where he praised the PN campaign.
Nicole Meilak
13:37 Grech arrives at the counting hall

Scenes of jubilation inside the counting hall as PN leader Bernard Grech enters. PN supporters chanting victory and calling out “tuna s-siġġu” – ‘give us the third seat’
Nicole Meilak
13:19 Smiles in the Nationalist Party quarters

PN officials appear to be beaming in the party’s quarters at the Counting Hall. Here, we have the party’s secretary-general Michael Piccinino hugging and thanking campaign manager Karl Gouder.

Nicole Meilak
13:11 Casa: A slap in the face for the PL

PN MEP David Casa has described Sunday’s result as a “slap in the face” for the Labour Party. “Despite the state capture, the people are sending a clear message: stop pigging out at our expense,” he wrote on Facebook.

Nicole Meilak
13:09 Grech: PN ‘in the direction’ to elect third seat

PN leader Bernard Grech stated that his party is "in the direction" of electing a third MEP candidate. Leaving the PN HQ on Sunday, Grech said that "it's clear" that the vote gap stands at 15,000 votes, as he hailed today's result as the PN's best result in MEP elections.

Grech described the result as a clear message, as he promised to continue working with humility. He said that preliminary estimates show that the PN is on track to win three MEP seats. When asked whether he would go for a confidence vote if the PN doesn't win three MEP seats, Grech stated that it's too early to talk about the possibility.
Nicole Meilak
12:56 What had the surveys said?

A quick reminder of what the surveys had said. Our own MaltaToday survey is the closest at a 24,262 vote gap, although we are still far off from the projected results coming in right now. However in February, the MaltaToday gap stood at 15,000. Meanwhile, statistician Vincent Marmara had arrived at a 26,755 vote gap a couple of days ago while the Times of Malta had their vote gap at around 30,500 last week.
Nicole Meilak
12:45 PM: Result is show of trust in Labour

Abela said this result is a show of trust in the Labour Party. He also remarked that the Nationalist Party, despite sustaining a loss, is celebrating as if it won the election. “It’s ironic that the Nationalist Party is celebrating this result,” he said.

Abela also thanked all the party agents. He said the party addressed the country’s challenges, and the public still seeks the Labour Party for solutions.

However, Abela said that despite the win, the public still chose to send a strong message with their vote.

Nicole Meilak
12:36 A 13,500 vote gap?

Sources from both parties have been suggesting that the gap between the PN and PL could go as low as 13,500. A clearer picture will emerge as more votes are counted. But the sources said the trend so far has shown a reducing gap.
Nicole Meilak
12:34 Grech: Vote gap could be less than 15,000

Grech also said the vote gap could go down to less than 15,000 votes.

“Labour will still be in power today, but this result is a clear message to an administration that was heartless with a mother when she needed justice for her son,” he said, referring to the Jean-Paul Sofia inquiry.

Read more on what PN leader Bernard Grech told voters on Net TV
Nicole Meilak
12:31 Bernard Grech: This is the only survey that counts

In first comments on Net TV, Grech said the results show that people have spoken against the Labour Party’s style of governing and wants an administration that can deliver serenity.

”The people are realising that Labour only remembers its people when it needs their vote. People want a sober administration – it is not ‘PR’ that improves people’s lives, but that you say something that is convincing,” he said.
Nicole Meilak
12:27 The Vitals effect?

In reaction to the decreased vote gap, Repubblika’s honorary president Robert Aquilina said the public has started to stand up to corruption through its vote. The NGO’s lawyer Jason Azzopardi has also put the result down to the fall-out of the Vitals inquiry. “The public has started to answer to the fight against corruption, from the most corrupt government,” he said.

Nicole Meilak
12:16 PL President satisfied with outcome

Labour President Ramona Attard has just given a comment to TVM.

”We’re in a midterm election and there were some extraordinary events during the campaign,” she said, referring to the Vitals inquiry fallout that saw criminal charges filed against former PM and Labour leader Joseph Muscat, among others.

Still, no official estimates on the size of the vote gap yet.
Nicole Meilak
12:06 Piccinino: ‘Best result for PN, 15,000 vote gap’

We’re hearing more about the vote gap. PN secretary-general Michael Piccinino has just said that this result is the best ever achieved by the Nationalist Party, and is giving an indication of 15,000 votes.

”This is the best result for the PN in MEP elections,” Piccinino said, who also said the PN will get their three seats in the European Parliament.
Nicole Meilak
12:01 Labour supermajority might have halved to 20,000

Despite claiming a win, MaltaToday is informed that the difference between the two major parties might have dropped to around 20,000 votes, although this figure is not official.

With a combination of dampened turnout figures and lower voter interest, the sharp cut in the Labour supermajority, a constant for the party since its election in 2013, will be interpreted as a crack in Labour’s invincibility.

Read more here.
Nicole Meilak
11:59 Abela: Solid victory for Labour

Abela also claimed a solid victory but avoided giving a number on the Labour Party’s margin. He gave the brief comment on TVM.
Nicole Meilak
11:57 Michael Falzon insists on caution with voting numbers

Minister Michael Falzon says it’s an absolute majority for Labour, but is insisting on caution with the vote margin. No party has given a solid indication of the vote gap yet.
Nicole Meilak
Nicole Meilak
11:49 Labour claiming victory

We can hear the banging on the perspex and people chanting ‘Viva l-Labour’. It seems that Labour has gotten their victory.
Nicole Meilak
11:45 Abela to speak on TVM

It seems that Prime Minister and Labour leader Robert Abela will be speaking on the public broadcaster soon. We will let you know when this happens.
Nicole Meilak
11:41 Anticipation high in the Counting Hall

Executive editor Kurt Sansone says anticipation is high in the counting hall, especially among PL agents and delegates on announcement of result. With over 14% of votes scanned, the two big parties should have a pretty good indication of where the vote is heading.
Nicole Meilak
11:23 Jason Micallef: ‘Labour the biggest party in Malta’

Former PL secretary-general Jason Micallef posted on Facebook 10 minutes ago saying the Labour Party has been confirmed as the biggest party in Malta. However things are still quiet in the Counting Hall, at least for now.

Nicole Meilak
11:06 Hugs and smiles around

A number of MPs and ministers are gathered in front of the second district tables. They appear to be hugging, smiling and shaking hands. We understand that a sample should be provided soon from the Labour Party side.
Nicole Meilak
10:55 Labour agents congregating in the counting hall

Online editor Karl Azzopardi has noticed an amount of Labour agents gathering around one of the tables. Could we expect some result indications anytime soon?
Nicole Meilak
10:30 Counting qualms

ADPD deputy chairperson Carmel Cacopardo has said that the party also requested access to a rolling vote count from the Electoral Commission. But like with Cassola, the request was denied.

“Yet they give this information to the PLPN. Unfortunately, the electoral system is designed to accommodate the PLPN alone,” he said.
Nicole Meilak
10:11 Where are the votes going?

It’s still too early to say where all the first-count votes are going. Our journalists inside the counting hall are noticing a variety in first-count preferences. So far, too few boxes have been opened for parties to make accurate projections.
Nicole Meilak
10:07 Watchdogs, literally

Party agents act as watchdogs on the voting process and one Labour delegate took this literally.

Nicole Meilak
09:51 A look at the samples

Party agents are tallying the votes of little chits while counting staff turn the votes face up. This enables the two major parties to project the overall election result when they are confident enough that they have a good enough sample across Malta and Gozo. The votes are not placed in pigeon holes as per candidate since these will be scanned and the results per candidate will be logged into the computer system.

Nicole Meilak
09:42 What happens now?

The counting staff in the hall are reviewing each ballot to sort out the valid votes from the ‘invalids’. Party agents oversee the process and will help flag whether the votes are valid, while also taking a sample of first-count votes. This will help determine party strength, but not elected candidates. The ballots are then scanned to be deemed valid.
Nicole Meilak
09:34 Vote scanning underway

The vote scanning process has just started! We will update you here – watch this space.
Nicole Meilak
09:30 Ballot box blunders?

It seems that the scanning process will be delated after several ballot papers were placed in the wrong box...

Since people were voting in two elections on Saturday, people had to place their two ballots in two separate boxes.
Nicole Meilak
09:22 Live again from the Naxxar Counting Hall

Executive editor Kurt Sansone went live again from inside the Counting Hall, which is much more crowded now that scanning is set to start any moment now. You can watch the livestream here, and can receive notifications on future streams from our Facebook page.

Nicole Meilak
09:12 PN’s David Agius spotted in the Counting Hall

PN MEP candidate David Agius has also been spotted in the Counting Hall, which is now looking more crowded. Agius will be hoping to secure a potential third seat for the Nationalist Party.

Nicole Meilak
09:01 Team ADPD at the Counting Hall

The Green Party’s election team is also entering the counting hall.

Nicole Meilak
08:58 Labour candidates trickling in

Labour MEP candidates Thomas Bajada and Steve Ellul have been spotted inside the Counting Hall, as party agents start queuing to get inside the counting hall.

Nicole Meilak
08:38 Counters taking place

Party delegates are slowly finding their place in the Counting Hall for when the vote-scanning process at 9am. Ballots will be passed through the scanning machines and the scans will be uploaded on screens where party agents can start tallying the votes. You can go here to read more about the voting process.
Nicole Meilak
08:29 Who benefits from the turnout?

The question on everyone’s mind right now is who stands to gain, or lose, from the turnout figures provided by the Electoral Commission. At face value, seeing the district-by-district analysis, the turnout figures seem to disadvantage the Labour Party. The districts that traditionally lean red have experienced higher drops in voting than other districts.
Nicole Meilak
08:13 Zaren tal-Ajkla spotted in the Counting Hall

Nazareno Bonnici, know as ‘tal-Ajkla’ is in the Counting Hall ahead of the vote-scanning process. Bonnici is a mainstay of the bizarre independent outliers – he’s contested every MEP election since 2004. In the latest European election he received 376 first-count votes, and was eliminated on the 11th count with 416 votes.

Nicole Meilak
08:06 MaltaToday’s cartoon

A little humour an hour before the vote-scanning starts. Our Sunday newspaper cartoon shows Robert Abela and Bernard Grech praying for different, yet similar, results on election day. Who do you think will get their way?

Nicole Meilak
07:58 Cassola denied access to rolling count data from Electoral Commission

Independent candidate Arnold Cassola has requested access to a rolling vote count from the Electoral Commission for sample purposes. In a press statement, Cassola said he wants access to the data on first preference votes every five minutes, data that is accorded to the two main political parties.

“For over two years, I have been requesting access to the rolling vote count. I am officially requesting the right to receive data on the first preferences from the Electoral Commission every five minutes for sampling purposes, just as they are doing with the PL and PN,” Cassola said.
Nicole Meilak
07:53 Turnout by electoral district

If you prefer a graphical overview of the turnout by district, we’ve got you covered. Here is a map of Malta, split by electoral district, showing how the turnout varies across the islands. Turnout appears low in the northernmost parts, and strongest in Gozo.

Nicole Meilak
07:48 All eyes on Cassola

Many will be looking at Arnold Cassola today, after the latest surveys from MaltaToday and the Times of Malta saw him poll highly among voters deciding on a first-count preference. Our survey indicates that he’s the clear front runner among independent and small party candidates, with nearly 4%of decided voters giving him their one. He is followed by far rightist Norman Lowell (1.9%), former Gzira mayor Conrad Borg Manche (1.3%) and ADPD leader Sandra Gauci (0.6%).

Nicole Meilak
07:30 Live from the Counting Hall

Executive editor Kurt Sansone went live from the counting hall to give us a breakdown of how the day will pan out and what the latest turnout figures could tell us about the election results.

Nicole Meilak
07:10 Who votes the most?

A district-by-district analysis provided by the Electoral Commission shows turnout highest in the 13th district, meaning Gozo. Here, 73.95% of registered voters casted their vote. Higher turnouts compared to the average were also registered in the fifth and seventh districts.

Meanwhile, the lowest turnout was recorded in the tenth district, with only 56.33% casting a vote on election day. The second-lowest turnout was recorded in the 12th district, with 58.32% of registered voters submitting a ballot.
Nicole Meilak
06:48 What to expect today

It's still a little quiet in the Counting Complex, but here's a small run-down of what to expect today.

At 9am, the counting staff will start scanning the voting documents. While the votes are being scanned, party officials will start to take note of where the first-preference votes went. This means that, within the first hour or so, we might get an indication of party strength.
Nicole Meilak
05:47 Turnout is 72.8%

The Electoral Commission has just confirmed turnout results in terms of registered voters. Overall, including early voting, 72.82% of registered voters casted a vote in the European election. You can find a full district-by-district breakdown here.
Nicole Meilak
05:45 Good morning! Welcome to our live coverage of results day in the European election in Malta. Nicole Meilak

Ballot papers have been counted and scanned in the Naxxar counting hall, and Malta's six MEPs have been decided.

The Nationalist Party won a third seat, and the Labour Party was humbled by a relative majority with just 8,500 votes.