Labour will split mayorship with independent in hung council

The Żebbuġ council in Gozo will have an independent mayor in the first half of the legislature and a Labour mayor afterwards

Zebbug was one of two Gozitan localities that ended up with a hung council after independents were elected
Zebbug was one of two Gozitan localities that ended up with a hung council after independents were elected

Independent councillor Nicky Saliba will serve as mayor of Żebbuġ for the first half of the legislature after a power sharing agreement was reached with Labour councillors.

Labour councillor Marlene Cini will serve as mayor in the second half of the legislature. She will initially serve as deputy mayor.

The arrangement was announced this evening by the Labour Party that said the agreement will see the party manifesto for the Gozitan locality being implemented over the next five years.

In local elections held last month, Żebbuġ elected two Labour councillors, two Nationalist councillors and Saliba, who contested as an independent after splitting from the PN. Saliba served as PN mayor in the last legislature.

The PL had obtained 40.7% of the vote against the PN's 43.1%. Saliba and another independent candidate obtained 16.2%.

“This agreement was reached in the best interest of the locality, to ensure a stable leadership for the best interests of Żebbuġ and Marsalforn residents,” the PL said. It noted that the PL’s local manifesto would ensure a leap of quality in the locality.

In a Facebook post, PN minority leader Daniel Cordina said he was baffled by the PL's decision since he had offered Cini support to serve as mayor for the full five years, with the PN holding the post of deputy mayor.

Cordina said he understood the anger of people who felt the new arrangement did not respect their vote.

Sources in Gozo told MaltaToday that there was long-standing animosity between Cordina and Saliba. During the PN leadership battle, Cordina supported Chris Said, while Saliba supported Delia.

It appears that Saliba eventually fell out with the PN leadership, which pushed him to contest as an independent.

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