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Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Malta's opposition Labour party wins elections

For the first time in 15 years, the most Labour Party headed by Joseph Muscat returned to power in Malta, the smallest EU country

AFP, Sunday 10 Mar 2013
Malta
Maltese Labour Party leader Joseph Muscat shaking hands with journalists after winning the elections (Photo: AFP)
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Malta's opposition Labour party has won a general election for the first time in over 15 years, with leader Joseph Muscat claiming a "landslide victory" Sunday in the eurozone's smallest member.

Early results based on a sample of ballots from Saturday's vote showed Labour ahead with 55 percent to 43 percent for the incumbent Nationalist Party led by outgoing Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi.

The provisional results suggest Labour could clinch one of the most comfortable majorities in the 65-seat parliament since the tiny Mediterranean island became independent in 1964.

"I wasn't expecting such a landslide victory for Labour. We must all remain calm, tomorrow is another day," Muscat, a 39-year-old former journalist, said.

Gonzi immediately conceded defeat and vowed to step down from the party leadership as a result of his poor showing.

"I personally take full responsibility for this result and I will not seek reelection when the party chooses its new leadership," he said at a press conference.

"The Nationalist Party needs to begin a reform process and at the same remain rooted in its values," he said, adding that future prime minister Muscat deserved respect as he prepared to tackle new national challenges.

The tiny island state is a rare example of a eurozone state with low unemployment, respectable economic growth and solid public finances.

The unemployment rate is 6.0 percent and, according to the latest estimates, the country clocked 1.5 percent economic growth last year.

European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso congratulated Muscat and wished him "every success" while Martin Schulz, the head of the European parliament, said Malta could "look forward to continued good economic growth."

Gonzi, who has been at the helm of the Nationalist Party since 2004, had told the electorate throughout the nine-week campaign to judge him on his achievements, although he has admitted to mistakes.

Muscat has run a slick US-style campaign calling for change, charging that the outgoing government's economic figures were wrong and accusing his rival of failing to ensure stability by ruling with a one-seat majority.

Originally an opponent to Malta joining the European Union, Muscat has since changed his views and is a former member of the European Parliament.
Malta has not had a Labour government in 25 years -- apart from a 22-month stint when it ruled between 1996 and 1998.

Despite Malta's minuscule size, just 316 square kilometres (122 square miles), the political divide between the Labour and the Nationalist parties has been there for most of its history.

In 1964, the Nationalists achieved independence from British rule but in 1979, it was long-term leader Dom Mintoff's Labour government who pushed British troops off the island.

Even religious feasts in Malta are divided politically.

One village close to the capital Valletta, has two bands -- one in blue and the other in red, the colours of the two main political parties.

Muscat's vision is to do away with this political divide, saying the country should be more united and calling for an end to "tribal politics".

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Tony
11-03-2013 05:36pm
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Independence and Freedom
Re the nationalists achieved independence in 1964, they were handed a certain type of independence by the British Government because it wanted to get of its obligations while maintaining its military base also used by NATO and the USA and paying miserly rent. Not only that but they kept the right to bring British police and soldiers to control Maltese people in case of protests or anything they deemed their presence necessary and could declare any part of Malta as being required for the British Defence. They, NATO and the USA used Malta as their public convenience. Mintoff brought an end to all this foreigner occupation and gave Malta real freedom. Pity that Malta has again lost its independence and freedom by becoming an EU colony and will remain so until Malta again rises up against the EU dictatorship and reclaims back its independence and freedom from the EU colonialists. This should serve as a warning to all countries NOT to trust the EU and keep away from it and not touch it with
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Sharon Mintoff
11-03-2013 01:47am
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Local feasts
As a Malteser, I can say however that our religious feasts have nothing to do with politics. Yes they are rivalry, but that is only because there is more than one church beside the parish church in some villages, with one village claiming host to more than one patron saint. The colours can be anything from yellow and green to blue and red in one village alone. There is only rivalry in which saint you consider your "own" generally depedning on the are of the village you are from or of course your family heritage.
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Nev Galea
10-03-2013 10:23pm
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Malta Election
The low unemployment, respectable economic growth and solid public finances,that are mentioned in this article were false perception that the Nationalist government gave to foreign media,but the Maltese people does not felt the same and gave the vote according to that.On the other hand Joseph Muscat is young, energetic,dynamic,honest and trustworthy the right man to be Prime Minister of Malta
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Mariastella
10-03-2013 08:59pm
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Congratulations
It is about time that the labour party wins, I am very happy for the maltese people, they just had enough. God Bless them all. MINTOFF IS VERY HAPPY TODAY.vIVA mALTA.
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