Update 2 | Constitutional Court gives PN two seats as government set to appeal decision

Electoral Commission to appeal Court's decision separately • Simon Busuttil: 'Delighted that court granted PN two more seats in parliament' • Joseph Muscat: 'Government reviewing court ruling on Parliamentary seats and will lodge appeal'

Joseph Muscat's first comments on Court's decision • Video by Ray Attard

The Nationalist Party has won a court case filed against the Electoral Commission, with the Constitutional Court ruling that the parliamentary seat difference should have been of seven and not of nine.

The First Hall of the civil court in its constitutional jurisdiction has declared that “shortcomings in the process” in the 8th and 13th districts were in breach of the European Convention.

Reading out her judgment to tears of joy from several of the PN officials present, Judge Jacqueline Padovani Grima declared that the shortcomings lead to an incorrect result with respect to the representation of the electorate’s wishes and ordered the Electoral Commission to declare as elected, the two PN candidates with the next highest vote count within one month from today.

In his first reactions to the press, PN secretary general Chris Said said that the PN had been “deprived” of two seats for the past two years.

“We are very satisfied to have been proven right and we now expect the Electoral Commission and the Attorney General to take the necessary steps and start the process to elect a further two seats on the Opposition benches. No further time should be wasted,” he told MaltaToday.

The court’s decision means that the seat difference should have been of seven and not nine. The remedy given by the court is for the PN to add two seats, while the Labour Party retains its nine seats.

In his first comments on the matter, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the government will be appealing the decision and taking steps from there.

“Government is evaluating the judgement and initial indications show that the court’s decision can be appealed. This will be done in the most expedient manner,” Muscat said.

Aided by constitutional law expert Ian Refalo, the Electoral Commission will be appealing the Constitutional Court’s decision separately.

In a statement, the government reiterated it was appealing the decision. It said, that the Labour Party had garnered a total of 167,533 first count votes while the Nationalist Party obtained a total of 132,246 first count votes.

“Mathematically this translates into a clear nine-seat majority according to the principle of proportionality. This is the main principle of the Maltese electoral system,” the government said.

“It is for this reason that the government feels that the court’s decision removes the proportionality in the first court of votes that reflected the results obtained by the two parties during the 2013 general election.”

The PN and two candidates Claudette Buttigieg and Frederick Azzopardi had filed a Constitutional court application against the Electoral Commission, over the 9 March election result which the PN insists "did not reflect the will of the people," and distorted proportionality in Parliament.

In its application the PN, Buttigieg and Azzopardi asked the Constitutional court to declare the Electoral Commission's actions in breach of the right to free elections which uphold the will of the people and consequently address the injustice suffered by the party and the two candidates by correcting the number of MPs elected to reflect proportionality.