Labour leadership election: Next prime minister will be chosen by 17,500 PL members

Labour Party extraordinary general conference kicks off process that will elect a new leader on Saturday

The PL extraordinary general conference paved the way for members to elect the next leader on Saturday
The PL extraordinary general conference paved the way for members to elect the next leader on Saturday

The Labour Party has initiated the process leading to Saturday's election of its new leader and Malta’s 14th prime minister.

Addressing the party’s extraordinary general conference on Tuesday evening, electoral commissioner Dean Hili said that 17,500 members will be eligible to vote. This will be the first time that the next PL leader will be chosen by party members.

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne and Labour MP Robert Abela are in the running to succeed Joseph Muscat.

Hili laid out the process leading to the election, including security features against voter manipulation and the set up of voting centres at designated PL party clubs in each electoral district for voters who wish to cast their ballot.

The party will also be providing transport to those who need it.

“From beginning to end, the biggest winner should be the party,” Hili said.

Early voting starts on Wednesday, with those looking to vote tomorrow having the chance to do so between 8am and 8pm.

Votes cast early will be sealed in a strong room agreed between the two candidates.

The remaining party members who wish to cast their vote can do so on Saturday between 8am through to 8pm.

On Saturday evening counting will start at the party’s headquarters in Hamrun when all ballot boxes arrive.

The result is expected to be announced in the early hours of Sunday.

Party president Daniel Micallef thanked outgoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat for the successes he achieved, stating that recent events would not undermine his work at the helm of the country.

“We have always found your support, and the good you did will not be erased by anyone, the movement must continue,” he said.

He also addressed the candidates running for leader, stating that there must be only one winner – the Labour Party.

Micallef appealed to those siding with the different candidates to embrace each other when the result comes out.

“On Sunday when the result comes out, you must embrace one another, and God willing we will celebrate an election victory at the Naxxar counting hall when the time comes,” he said.