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Parliament dissolved - PL in midnight launch

Published January 7.

President George Abela has dissolved Parliament and directed the Electoral Commission to hold the general election on March 9.

Earlier in the morning, the Prime Minister had a short meeting with Dr Abela during which he formally asked him to dissolve Parliament.

Dr Gonzi said afterwards that he expected a 'mature' electoral campaign but this, he said, would not be a walk in the park as the people would be asked to make a major decision about which political party, which political philosophy, would lead them for the next five years.

He expressed gratitude that the country had shown maturity in respecting a political truce during Christmas.

The dissolution of the House marks the official start of the electoral campaigns of the political parties.

The Labour Party was quickly off the blocks kicking off its electoral campaign at midnight by announcing its campaign theme: Malta tagħna lkoll. (Malta for all)

Leader Joseph Muscat unveiled Labour’s first electoral billboard outside the party’s headquarters, saying that unity would underpin the PL’s campaign.

The message builds on recent statements made by Dr Muscat that politics should no longer divide the nation and the day after the election should be a day like any other.

As the Christmas truce expired, Dr Muscat published the campaign slogan on Twitter. He also signed a billboard and rolled out a banner on the façade of the party’s headquarters at Mile End, Ħamrun.

The Christmas truce was agreed by both parties last month after the Government was defeated on a Budget vote with one of its own MPs, Franco Debono, voting with the Opposition.

ELECTORAL PROCEDURE

Just over 331,000 people are eligible to vote on March 9, of whom 19,000 will be able to do so for the first time.

In terms of recent legal amendments which introduced the rolling electoral register, all those who turn 18 by election day will be able to vote. Previously, the eligible voters were those whose name was published in the printed electoral register, normally published in October and April.

The Electoral Commission will now proceed with the printing of the voting documents under the supervision of representatives of the political parties, with distribution starting later this month.

The Commission will also issue calls for people wishing to work as counting agents and assistant electoral commissioners. Nominations of election candidates will also be submitted at the end of this month.

Preparations will also get will under way at the vote-counting hall in the former trade fair grounds in Naxxar and the polling stations.

 

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