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How the PL expects to get its new seats

It will be well into the night before the make-up of the new parliament starts to take shape, but some pointers are starting to appear as vote-counting slowly gets under way at Naxxar counting hall.

Labour is expected to have a majority of up to nine seats in parliament, having won 55.1% of the popular vote to the PN's 43.1%. It has a majority of nearly 37,000 votes.

Labour will retain its 3-2 majority in the first district and its commanding 4-1 hold on the second . Yana Mintoff, Dom Mintoff's daughter, slumped badly in the first district and will not be elected. Mario de Marco and Jean-Pierre Farrugia  are leading the PN pack on the first district, with Louis Grech, Jose' Herrera and Deo Debattista for Labour.

On the second, Nazzarno Bonnici ta l-Ajkla only got a handful of first count votes and was visibly heart-broken in the counting hall after his well attended meetings. The outcome for the big parties is skewed because Dr Muscat and Dr Gonzi have won all the first-count votes. Stephen Spiteri is second behind Dr Gonzi on the PN list.

Labour is also likely to win a fourth seat on the third district, which will be a relief for Carmelo Abela, who, surprisingly, struggled in this election as Owen Bonnici made strong gains.

Former minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici and Frans Agius are battling for one or maybe two PN seats on the third district. Owen Bonnici, George Vella, Chris Fearne and Carmelo Abela are battling for the other seats.

There is also a strong possibility that Labour will also win four seats on the fourth and fifth districts. The fifth district (Franco Debono's old district) was particularly topsy turvey for the PN. Jason Azzopardi is leading from architect Anthony Bezzina, but Austin Gatt's former chief of staff has declared he stands no chance to be elected. Karmenu Vella and Marlene Farrugia are leading Labour's charge.

The sixth and seventh districts are expected to be unchanged with a 3-2 Labour majority. A surprise for Labour on the seventh district was the brilliant performance of newcomer Ian Borg. In contrast, Labour MPs Noel Farrugia and Prof Anthony Zammit may not be re-elected.

It remains to be seen if Mrs Farrugia's new husband, Godfrey Farrugia, will follow her to parliament from the seventh district.

Incredibly, Labour is in with a chance of winning a 3-2 majority on the eighth district, one of the traditional PN strongholds. However, Labour veteran Joe Debono Grech is unlikely to get elected, with Prof Edward Scicluna, Chris Cardona and Edward Zammit Lewis making it if a Labour majority is realised.

The PN is expected to retain its 3-2 majorities in the ninth, 10th and 11th districts. A third seat for Labour on the 12th district is possible, building on Labour's local council triumph in St Paul's Bay. New candidate Manuel Mallia is doing well on  the ninth and 10th districts. George Pullicino is leading the Nationalists on the 10th district, with Robert Arrigo.

A surprise on the 11th district was that former PL general secretary Jason Micallef did badly and may end up not being elected. Deborah Schembri is doing well on the 12th district.

A battle royale is being waged for the third seat in Gozo. It was originally thought that Labour had taken this third seat from the PN for the first time since 1955 but the outcome is still uncertain.

The surprise here is how Labour MP Justyne Caruana is struggling for her seat, with ophthalmologist Franco Azzopardi doing better than her and Anton Refalo. The PN casualty is likely to be Frederick Azzopardi. An informed source said the difference between the two parties is not any bigger than 100 votes. 

In total, Labour is projected to win 38 parliamentary seats to the PN's 27. A legal adjustment to ensure proportionality will give the PN two additional seats, bringing their total up to 29 - and giving Labour a nine-seat majority.   

  

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