Labour keeps hotly-contested Birkirkara, Rabat and Msida and solidifies in Gozo

Constantly updated | The Labour Party took the local councils of 16 localities, the PN took four it typically wins (Sliema, Lija, Imgarr, and Victoria) and Gharb saw a deadlock as two independent candidates, two PL candidates and one PN candidate were elected

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi amidst jubilant Labour Party supporters. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi amidst jubilant Labour Party supporters. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

• PN elects Anthony Chircop as Sliema mayor

• Labour's Alison Zerafa Civelli retains Bormla mayorship by 15 votes

• PN retains Lija with new mayor and Victoria

• Labour majority in San Gwann

• Labour retains Birkirkara, Msida, Kalkara, Gudja, Marsaxlokk, Marsascala, Bormla, Hal Ghaxaq, Zabbar, Fgura and Rabat (Malta)

• PL gets four seats against the PN's one in Pieta, with Keith Tanti being confirmed mayor

• PL wins Zabbar with nine seats versus the PN's two, with Jorge Grech being elected mayor

Hotly contested Birkirkara has been retained by the Labour Party. Joanne Debono Grech has retained her seat as mayor of the locality. Msida has been likewise kept by Labour with a slim 50% majority to PN's 45%. Margaret Baldacchino Cefai stays on as mayor.

In the last election, PL won Birkirkara by the slim margin of 50.41% of the vote. 

Labour has significantly increased its presence in Gozo, ordinarily a Nationalist Party bastion. PN has lost its hold on Gharb as the council is split between two independent candidates, two labour candidates and one PN candidate. 

In Xaghra, Labour has increased its seats from three to four as it won with an increased majority, allowing PN to keep just one of its two seats in the council. Interestingly, both top major party candidates obtained the same number of total votes but PL candidate Christian Zammit was elected mayor on the basis of accumulating more first count votes.

Another very tight battle took place in Bormla but this time it was between two PL candidates as Alison Zerafa Civelli was elected mayor by having just 15 more first-count votes than PL candidate Marco Agius. She described the event as being a close race till the very end. 

The first result of the night: the Nationalist Party wins Lija and retains the locality. Anthony Dalli was elected new Mayor. He deposed PN mayor Magda Magri. PN won three seats to Labour's two. PN captured 66% of the vote share and PL garnered 33%.

Donio Cini and Daniel Mallia are the two elected councillors for PN and Lorraine Farrugia and Joseph Zahra won the two seats for PL. 

Gozo minister Justyne Caruana celebrates good Labour showing on sister island. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Gozo minister Justyne Caruana celebrates good Labour showing on sister island. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

PN has also retained Victoria in Gozo with new Mayor Josef Schembri. PN garnered 59% of the vote here and PL won 40%. 

Kalkara is retained by PL with four seats to PN's one. Wayne Aquilina is Kalkara's new mayor. 

Gudja has likewise been retained by Labour, winning 62% of the vote. In the last election, PL won the Gudja local council with a higher percentage of the vote at 65%. This time around, two independent candidates on this locality garnered 6% of the vote. Marija Sara Vella is the new mayor. 

Marsaxlokk was kept by Labour as it wins a majority with 78% of the votes to PN's 21%. The new mayor is Steven Grech. 

San Gwann has once again seen a Labour majority in terms of votes. In the last local council election, the same thing had happened but PN retained the locality due to having more seats, five to PL's four. 

Marsascala was held by PL with a large majority of seven seats to PN's two. 

The Labour Party was hoping today that it could build on yesterday’s local council success by securing a number of key local councils, as the counting of votes from last Saturday’s elections entered the second day.   

Yesterday’s proceedings saw the PL elect a mayor in Valletta for the first time since local councils were introduced.

Besides the PN winning just four local councils out of 21 in the second round of counting, the perspex at the Birkirkara table took a severe beating
Besides the PN winning just four local councils out of 21 in the second round of counting, the perspex at the Birkirkara table took a severe beating

The party also managed to win St Paul’s Bay, one of the largest localities on the island, and one that has always been hotly contested by the two parties.

Proceedings resumed tonight with votes from another 21 localities to be counted, including Birkirkara, San Gwann, Msida and Rabat.

Both Msida and Rabat were won by the PL last time round. Rabat has been controlled by the PN in the past, and while the Labour Party won a relatively comfortable majority, it remains to be seen what effect the party's decision to block mayor Charles Azzopardi from running again will have.

Similarly, in Msida, the party lost councillor Lino Bartolo, who resigned after internal tension with other Labour councillors. Bartolo, who is well-connected within the community, ran as an independent candidate.

Labour will be looking to win back San Gwann after last election's PN steal of more seats. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)
Labour will be looking to win back San Gwann after last election's PN steal of more seats. (Photo: James Bianchi/MediaToday)

San Gwann was won by the PN the last time round and Labour hoped to win it back. In the last election, despite the Labour Party winning more votes it was the Nationalist Party that won more seats.

In Labour stronghold Bormla, Alison Zerafa Civelli was confirmed mayor by 15 votes, after a close run with fellow party candidate Marco Agius.

The PL improved its majority in Pieta, where it added an additional seat and confirmed Keith Tanti as its mayor. In Zabbar, another Labour stronghold, the party took nine seats from 11 and elected Jorge Grech as mayor.

The full list of localities that will be decided tonight include: Birkirkara, Bormla, Għaxaq, Lija, Żabbar, Fgura, Gudja, Kalkara, Rabat (Gozo), Rabat (Malta), Xagħra, Għarb, Mġarr, Msida, Marsaskala, Marsaxlokk, Paola, San Ġwann, Sannat, Pieta, Sliema.

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