LIVE BLOG: Election Monday
Labour leader Joseph Muscat will be sworn in as Prime Minister this morning, 24 hours after his party began celebrating the single biggest electoral victory of modern Maltese times.
We’ll be live blogging electoral events from across the island, from Dr Muscat’s oath of office to celebrations in Maltese streets further afield. We’ll also be keeping you updated with goings-on in the Naxxar counting hall, where votes continue to be tallied up as candidates hold out hope for a parliamentary seat.
Spot something interesting you think we should know about? Eager to have your two cents? Busy celebrating? Let us know – send us a comment in the box below, email [email protected] or send me a tweet on @bertu123, including the #malta2013 hashtag.
Live coverage: election mondayThe event has now ended, here is a transcript of the live coverage.
- 10:33 am
Good morning everyone, it’s Election Monday and it seems like I’m the only person on the island actually doing any work today.
It’s a big day for Labour leader Joseph Muscat – he’s scheduled to be sworn in as Prime Minister this morning by President George Abela at the Palace in Valletta.
Crowds have already gathered in St George’s square, and the more enterprising of PL supporters have morphed the PL's "I'm in" slogan into "I win", cashing in on caps, t-shirts and mugs in the process.
- 10:35 am
I've swapped yesterday's wooden step and tepid coffee for a leather chair and creamy macchiato, so you'll be relieved to hear your correspondent is feeling quite well-nourished this morning.
- 10:39 am
I've spotted a couple of rainbow flags being waved among the crowd at St George's square - Dr Muscat had spoken about gay rights more than once during the campaign, and it seems to have paid off.
Kristina Chetcuti, who always seems to find herself at the heart of a pre-lunchtime booze-up, is nestled among the crowd. "Joseph is acknowledging us," LGBT member Michael Peplow told her.
- 10:43 am
There's also a big crowd gathered outside the Prime Minister's office in Castille. They'll be waiting for Muscat to walk it to his new office from the Palace later on. That, or they don't know he's not actually there.
- 10:48 am
I've been reliably informed that the EU secretariat is hard at work, as is the British High Commission. So it's me, the Brussels jetset and the Eurosceptics. Quite the merry crowd we'd make.
And, of course, all my colleagues and editors, who are all hammering away at their keyboards. No rest for the wicked.
- 10:53 am
In the meantime, away from the beer and placards:
- PN secretary-general Paul Borg Olivier has said he won't seek reelection
- Electoral Commission figures reckon the PL won by 35,107 votes
- Votes by party: 167,533 to the PL, 132,426 for the PN, 5,506 for Alternattiva Demokratika.
Ta' l-Ajkla got 47 votes, which was four times as many as the Alleanza Liberali's 12. There were also 32 votes for independent candidates
- 10:57 am
The noise really is something else – I can hear the crowd from the luxurious safety of my third floor office vantage point. Horns, cheers and the odd firecracker.
Police have cordoned off a central passageway running from the Palace, past St John’s co-Cathedral and all the way up Merchant’s street to Castille, and PL supporters are already there, pressed up against the steel barricades.
- 11:03 am
So, who's been elected so far?
13 candidates made it into parliament purely on the strength of the first count. Three of them - Simon Busuttil, Lawrence Gonzi and Joseph Muscat - were elected on both districts they contested in.
- 11:07 am
Muscat's Alfa is poking its nose into the cordoned off area, but Muscat seems to have gotten locked out. He's walking behind it, Michelle alongside him, waving to the crowd..quite Obama-esque.
Kristina Chetcuti spoke to PL supporter Marvin Abela, who immediately picked up on Muscat's navy blue suit. "Our leader was wise enough to even adopt the other party's colour"
- 11:12 am
The crowd is clearly feeling quite euphoric....they burst into a spontaneous rendition of the national anthem just now. These little displays of patriotism warm the cockles of my heart.
PL deputy leaders Toni Abela and Louis Grech are outside the Palace entrance, saluting the great and the good who've made it to Valletta this morning.
- 11:16 am
Fireworks are going off right now. The Muscat's twin daughters seem understandably bewildered by all the commotion and attention.
"Joseph huwa l-mexxej...hallelujah!" the crowd sing as the Muscat family enter the palace.
- 11:18 am
It seems Gozo has reverted to the tranquil haven we all know it to be: "Celebrations in Gozo are non-existent," Andrew Borg Cardona tells me on twitter. "Presumably everyone went to Malta".
- 11:21 am
Not content with sending one journalist to join in the merry-making, we've also got Kim Dalli down by Castille. "Lots of excitement here," she tells me, "and red bull on many people's breaths." One supporter, she tells me, has creatively linked the Labour past and present by tying a Dom Mintoff flag to a Malta Taghna Lkoll one.
- 11:23 am
So, while Dr Muscat has a chat with President Abela and prepares to be appointed PM, let's see what's happening with our electoral candidates....
- 11:27 am
As I was saying earlier, before Dr Muscat's Alfa interrupted, a number of candidates can safely say they've been elected into parliament.
Who got elected where?
1st district -Louis Grech (PL) Mario de Marco (PN).
2nd district - Joseph Muscat (PL) Lawrence Gonzi (PN)
3rd district - Owen Bonnici (PL)
4th district - Joseph Muscat and Konrad Mizzi (PL)
5th district - Karmenu Vella (PL)
6th district - Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca. (PL)
7th district - Ian Borg (PL) Lawrence Gonzi (PN)
8th district - Chris Cardona (PL) Tonio Fenech and Beppe Fenech Adami (PN)
9th district - Simon Busuttil (PN)
10th district - George Pullicino (PN)
11th district - Simon Busuttil (PN)
12th district: No one elected yet
13th district - Franco Mercieca and Anton Refalo (PL) Giovanna Debono and Chis Said (PN).
- 11:30 am
The 5th seat in the Gozitan 13th district is right down to the wire - only 4 (FOUR) votes separate the two parties, our counting hall man Ivan Camilleri tells me. Jusyne Caruana (PL) and Fredrick Azzopardi (PN) will be scowling at one another this morning.
- 11:32 am
Swearing-in ceremony is underway. President Abela has just appointed Dr Muscat Prime Minister. Dr Muscat speaks the oath, kisses the cross, and the crowd goes bananas, apples and oranges.
These ceremonies should come with an epilepsy warning. Shades of a baroque rave, what with all these camera flashbulbs bouncing off red velvet walls.
- 11:34 am
Chris Camilleri wants to know about MPs unlikely to return to parliament. Yep, we'll be giving you some more on that in half an hour or so.
- 11:34 am
More from the counting hall: the PN has claimed victory in Gozo, but with the margin being just four votes, the Labour party has asked for a recount.
- 11:36 am
"Ghax ghandna lil Joseph maghna ahna maghqudin!" sing the crowd. Umbrellas sprouting up like mushrooms as rain beings to patter down, but there´s nothing soggy about the crowd´s spirits.
- 11:40 am
The customary waving to the crowd from the Palace gallery now. The crowd´s delight gets Muscat to lift both his arms wide open to acknowledge the love.
Had to double check there, thought we had swapped over to St Peter´s square for a second there. Next stop, the papacy?
- 11:44 am
"We want to work with the Opposition and all those who don't agree with us but want to work with us....yesterday this government received a historic mandate, and that means this government will have a much greater responsibility than previous ones. Our cry is not just an electoral one, we are ready to make Malta taghna lkoll." - Dr Muscat's first words as Prime Minister of Malta.
- 11:50 am
Muscat said he'll be waiting for the vote counting process to be concluded, or close to concluded, before announcing who his cabinet ministers will be.
"We want parliament to be convened as soon as possible after Easter," he said. The 2013 budget will be the first thing to be voted on.
What about EU affairs? "I've spoken with other leaders, especially those from social parties. We'll be a European government and we'll be taking Malta's 2017 EU Presidency extremely seriously, and we want to work with the Opposition on this."
Dr Muscat again emphasises the importance of passing three anti-corruption bills before the summer: a Whistleblower's Act, party financing law and removal of prescription in cases of political corruption.
Right after that, he says, will be the implementation of already-existing laws, such as that concerning IVF or parole.
- 11:54 am
"I feel humbled by this election result", Muscat says. "From today, I must see things as the leader of a nation. And that means taking into consideration the beliefs of those who do not agree with me. I am ready to do this, and this new government will prove this through its actions."
Dr Muscat analysing yesterday's landslide: "It wasn't just a message to the Nationalist Party...it was a message to the entire political system. People showed that they were fed up with the existing, divisive system"
And that brings Dr Muscat's first Prime Ministerial meeting with the press to a close. He'll now brave the drizzle and walk it to Castille. Unless, of course, he's found the keys to the Alfa.
- 11:55 am
Back to Naxxar, where the 13th district is again the highlight: the PL is now saying that it has won the district by 6 votes. Looks like recount number 2 is on the cards.
- 11:58 am
And at Castille, Kim Dalli has chanced upon a couple of PL supporters wearing red Liverpool tops. Good to see they've found some use for them.
Just seen a photo of the crowds in Valletta, which we'll be uploading in a minute or so. Quite breathtaking.
- 12:02 pm
Spare a thought for the hundreds of local council candidates up for election last Saturday. They won't know about their political fates until next Sunday. Must be gut-wrenching.
- 12:13 pm
So, which big political names might require a visitor's pass when the new parliament building is opened?
On the Labour side, Economist and MEP Edward Scicluna will be shifting in his seat. Edward Zammit Lewis is ahead of him. Michael Falzon will also be a bit jittery on the 10th district - Evarist Bartolo and Manuel Mallia are both ahead of him, though he might get co-opted into parliament if Evarist Bartolo (likely to be elected on the 12th too) decides to give up the 10th seat.
Luciano Busuttil is struggling to make it through the 1st district, as is PL old-hand Joe Debono Grech.
Former One Productions chairman Jason Micallef is finding this election hard going is unlikely to make it through.
- 12:19 pm
As for the PN side, it seems likely that MEP David Casa won't be swapping the Grand Place for St George's anytime soon.
And of course there's the Gozitan battle between Labour's Justyne Caruana and PN's Fredrick Azzopardi which has yet to play out.
But it'll be Wednesday before all the votes are counted and added up, so plenty of time for things to change around.
- 12:21 pm
Back to Valletta, where the drizzle has become a downpour. The perfect excuse for Muscat to hitch a lift and wave to the photographers sprinting up ahead of him.
- 12:22 pm
One more electoral shocker, and it's a tale of family intrigue. Charles Mangion, a former PL minister, is likely to lose his parliamentary seat...to his nephew, Silvio Schembri.
Would hate to be around that family table this Easter Sunday.
- 12:28 pm
Fair's fair. Luke Schembri points out that Liverpool contrived to beat Spurs yesterday, "so we can wear the shirt to celebrate that important win and Labour's victory". I'm not going to pick on Liverpool anymore, no point kicking a dog when it's down.
- 12:32 pm
In Valletta, PL president Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi and international secretary Alex Sciberras Trigona are out and about hugging supporters.
And Dr Muscat has just walked out of the Palace and hopped into his car, which now has a little Maltese flag neatly stuck to the edge of the bonnet.
Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando walking down the cordoned off area now, waving and shaking hands together with PL officials. He's swapped yesterday's scarlet pants for a bright orange pair today.
- 12:36 pm
Confirmation from Naxxar that David Casa won't be making it into parliament. PL MEP Edward Scicluna might scrape through by the skin of his teeth.
- 12:43 pm
Time for the PL's "A New Tomorrow" anthem. Speaking from a purely aural point of view, here's hoping that's the last time my ears are assaulted by those Danish
The cars carrying the deputy leaders and Dr Muscat are covered in confetti, and there's something of a wedding atmosphere among the crowd. Chris Cardona gets cheers and honks, as does Deo Debattista. Still can't get over JPO and those tangerine trousers.
- 12:49 pm
In case you're wondering, I left the bit after "Danish" intentionally blank. This is a family newspaper after all.
Muscat is now ascending the Castille auberge's steps. An incredible din, and he stops to acknowledge the cheers and adulation. Which, handily, gives him and Michelle time to stop and pose for photos.
Couple of salutes from serving officers, and then he's in, where he finds OPM staff waiting to welcome him. He's visibly delighted.
- 12:50 pm
Quick hop to Naxxar: The Labour party has won Gozo by 9 votes. Justyne Caruana becomes the PL's third MP in the district, and completes an impressive PL turnaround. Fredrick Azzopardi loses out for the PN.
- 12:55 pm
Just a little sidenote. Valletta retailers (rightly) complain that less people visit the capital these days. So what do they do when half of Malta pops round for a wave and a cheer? Close up shop. Smacks of a missed opportunity if you ask me.
- 12:59 pm
PL supporters have taken to using their party flags and banners as headscarves to shield against the rain.
But they immediately whip them off and begin waving them around the moment Dr Muscat and Michelle appear at a Castille window. Many have tears in their eyes, Kim Dalli tells me.
Louis Grech and Toni Abela take Michelle's place, while one photographer remains obstinately in place, refusing to budge, somewhere by Muscat's right hip.
- 13:03 pm
And the wisecracks have started....someone's uploaded a timer counting down the months, days, hours, minutes and seconds until "Muscat lowers your electricity bills". I'd post the URL but it's ridiculously long. I'll upload it to twitter for anyone interested - @bertu123
Dr Muscat is in Castille now, giving some comments to the press. We spotted Sandro Chetcuti, the contractor charged with seriously injuring unionist Vince Farrugia, among those present.
- 13:12 pm
The swearing-in ceremony over, Malta's new Prime Minister now gets down to the heady task of running a country, while the vast multitudes who skipped work to applaud him return home to watch re-runs of 'Friends'.
- 13:20 pm
Little discussion going on in the office right now. Frederick Azzopardi (PN), who lost out on the 5th seat in Gozo, might still make it into parliament thanks to a Constitutional adjustment which would give the PN two additional seats.
- 13:21 pm
Just read that back, and it sounds like gibberish. Am going to try break it down for readers in a minute. But first, one of those marvellous macchiatos.
- 13:30 pm
So, how does this Constitutional amendment work? Dummies' guide (because, quite honestly, I don't know its inner workings):
Our electoral system sometimes leads to parties getting too few parliamentary seats, compared to their share of the overall vote. In these cases, a special mechanism kicks in and gives such parties a couple of additional seats, to make sure things remain in proportion.
Up to yesterday, PL statisticians estimating that Labour would actually end up with an 11-seat majority. But given that their 35,000-36,000 majority is more like a 9 rather than 11-seat majority, the PN would get an extra two seats to keep things fair.
Those seat numbers are based on yesterday's projections and could very well change, keep that in mind.
- 13:37 pm
Matthew Schembri argues that the Lawrence Gonzi rubbed Gozitans up the wrong way: "Going there and preaching that Gozo is blue only served to irk Gozitans," he tweets.
- 13:42 pm
After 10 counts and lots of arguing between party delegates, counting has closed for district 13.
Key final results:
With the quota set at 4.179, the PL gets three seats. Anton Refalo and Franco Mercieca both surpassed the quota, Justyne Caruana got 3,966 votes. All three will form part of parliament.
The PN's Giovanna Debono and Chris Said both sailed past the post. Fredrick Azzopardi, with 3,957 votes, narrowly loses out.
- 13:50 pm
Looks like there will be quite a few new faces in the next legislature. Ivan Camilleri, who's in the Naxxar counting hall, reckons there will be 14 newcomers.
Many of those come from the PL side of things: Deo Debattista, Etienne Grech, Konrad Mizzi, Chris Fearne, Ian Borg, Godfrey Farrugia, Edward Zammit Lewis, Manuel Mallia and Louis Grech should all get a seat.
Some new faces on the PN's side too: Claudio Grech, Ryan Callus, Simon Busuttil, Anthony Bezzina and Robert Cutajar have never been Maltese MPs before but look likely to secure seats.
- 13:52 pm
Quite a remarkable generational change within the PL ranks there. If the 38-seat projection is correct, it'll mean that more than 25 per cent of its MPs will be new to parliament.
- 13:57 pm
But who knows? The Joe Debono Grechs of the world have fought enough battles to know that it's not over till the the fat lady sings.
- 14:00 pm
I've been told that somebody's smashed the window to (PN's) Jason Azzopardi's legal office. Hope the vandals were caught on CCTV. Always a pleasure watching thugs trip up in their own stupidity.
- 14:07 pm
Yesterday's election result has gotten the 'Downfall' meme treatment. I've retweeted the link on twitter - look up @bertu123. Warning: strong language.
- 14:18 pm
Just had a quick look through the voting totals of the various female candidates. Looks like it's one step forward, two steps back in this respect.
Disappointing, although given the way political leaders have made a whole song and dance about the importance of female representation, I was expecting more members of the fairer sex to contest in the first place.
- 14:20 pm
Meanwhile - loads of traffic in Marsa, and absolute gridlock in Sliema. What's it like in your neck of the woods? Post a comment below or send me a tweet - @bertu123
- 14:44 pm
Chaos on regional road. Supporters have parked a truck in the middle of the road and are blocking everyone off, I've been told.
- 14:51 pm
Another big head is about to roll...Charlo Bonnici of the PN is out of the running on both the 8th and 11th districts.
And the PL's Evarist Bartolo has just been elected on the 12th district.
- 14:53 pm
Adrian has just wondered about my lunch today. In keeping with today's upmarket theme, I've gone for a Greek-style chicken pitta kebab. At this rate I'll be leaving the office wearing a cravat.
- 15:06 pm
Back to those women politicians. As things stand, the next parliament will have just FOUR women - Marlene Farrugia, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Giovanna Debono and Justyne Caruana, the latter two from Gozo.
The PL's Deborah Schembri (tad-divorzju) has more than 2,000 votes on the 12th district, but she's still 700-odd votes behind Michael Farrugia. Claudette Buttigieg (or Pace, as you probably know her) is a further 300 votes behind.
Helena Dalli (PL) is just shy of 2,000 votes at the moment on the second district. She'll be hoping to keep her seat. Paula Mifsud Bonnici has some 1,600 votes so far on the first district, and has some 400 votes to make up on Claudio Grech.
Marthese Portelli and Kristy Debono (both PN, both on the 9th district) have made it past the 1,000 vote mark, but that's not enough to get elected.
- 15:19 pm
With half the country hiding out in Gozo and the other half doing its utmost to keep horn manufacturers in business, President George Abela makes the most of having a clear schedule to spend some quality time with his son Robert and daughter-in-law Lydia.
The three have been spotted at the kitchen garden that forms part of the Presidential Palace in Attard. Eyes and ears everywhere, that's us.
- 15:32 pm
Twitter: Janne Tormanen does what any sane person would do, and asks why exactly everything has to come to a standstill on the day after an election.
Then again, what do you expect from a country with 5 national holidays and about a dozen or so other public holidays a year?
- 15:36 pm
Clyde Puli (PN) has been elected from the 6th district after the 11th count. Meanwhile, Manuel Delia (also PN) is out of the running on the 5th. I'd call him a taxi but I suspect he uses the bus.
- 15:44 pm
L Gatt wants to know whether the Valletta ring roads will be closed off to traffic later this afternoon. As far as I know, the answer is no. But if anyone knows otherwise, post in to let us know.
- 16:06 pm
Back to Naxxar. After Gozo's 9-vote thriller, we've got another tight races in the 8th district lined up.
Claudette Buttigieg (PN), Edward Scicluna (PL) and incumbent Michael Asciak (PN) are all vying for the 5th and final seat.
Heavy hitters Tonio Fenech and Beppe Fenech Adami (both PN) carried the vote, with the PL's Edward Zammit Lewis and Chris Cardona elected on a Labour ticket.
- 16:10 pm
When you remove both Muscat and Gonzi from the equation, Simon Busuttil was the single most popular candidate this election.
Also of interest - Anthony Agius Decelis (PL) has outgunned Lous Grech in district 11, where former PL deputy leader Anglu Farrugia used to contest. There's not much in it - the two are around 100 votes apart - but one wonders whether there was an element of protest voting at work.
- 16:21 pm
Rosanne Zammit has just given me a closer look at the 8th district numbers. That 5th seat really is up for grabs - it all depends on where the 636 votes for Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Michael Briguglio lead.
If AD voters gave their subsequent numbers to the PL, then it's likely Edward Scicluna will get elected and give Labour a coveted third seat in the district.
If those 600 AD votes are tinged blue, then it'll be either Claudette Buttigieg or Michael Asciak who'll be smiling. Ms Buttigieg is ever-so-slightly ahead, but Dr Asciak is both the incumbent as well as higher up on the ballot sheet, by virtue of his surname.
Which makes me wonder why no candidate has ever tried to change their surname to 'Aardvark'. Memorable, paints a picture and gets the votes of those who think a ballot sheet is a paper version of Sesame Street.
- 16:38 pm
Quick update of the situation in the first district after the 11th count: Louis Grech (PL) and Mario de Marco (PN) are top dogs here. They've both been elected.
Family doctor Deo Debattista (PL), lawyer Jose Herrera (PL) and former MITA chairman Claudio Grech (PN) will probably get the remaining three seats.
But doctor Jean-Pierre Farrugia and PN general council president Paula Mifsud Bonnici are still in the running.
- 16:48 pm
One reader, Adrian Agius, claimed to have seen a police car, siren blaring, with two PL flags dangling out its windows. Lovely.
We've also been asked about Gavin Gulia's fate. He was out of the running on the 6th district after five counts, but he's still in with a chance on the 7th district.
Godfrey Farrugia (PL) is likely to be elected. After that, it's either our man Gavin, Carmelo Buhagiar, Chris Cilia or Sandro Craus. Just a couple of hundred votes in it.
- 16:54 pm
Hunting down tweets, I came across this. "Spotted exiting Zebbug: van with stuffed turtle dove on bonnet, sign 'April Taghna Lkoll' and bird calls on the radio."
What a fowl way of celebrating.
- 17:07 pm
I know I mentioned it yesterday, but it merits reiteration.
Hannes Swoboda, who leads the European Parliament's Social Democrat groups, said the Labour victory was "the latest sign that voters in Europe are fed up with right-wing austerity".
"Right-wing austerity". This after we've had a nine-week campaign in which both parties fell over themselves to promise us tax cuts, tablets, discounted housing, and everything short of a complementary back rub. Quite austere of them, I have to say.
Mr Swoboda and his figolla-cutter sweeping statements.
- 17:16 pm
Anyhow, more from Naxxar, where we're back to that 5th seat in district 8.
It looks like Edward Scicluna might have a shot at getting elected even if the 5th seat falls to the Nationalists. Why? Because Joe Debono Grech’s 2,100 votes have to go somewhere – and that somewhere will either be Scicluna, or Edward Zammit Lewis.
Dr Zammit Lewis is 500 votes ahead of Scicluna, with 2,846 votes after 10 counts, but that alphabetical phenomenon we mentioned earlier works in Scicluna’s favour here. The plot thickens.
- 17:16 pm
We've already discussed districts 1 and 8. District 13 is done and dusted. What about the others?
- 17:20 pm
In the 2nd district, Joseph Muscat is obviously elected. So too is his PL colleague Joe Mizzi. Stefan Buontempo is looking like a good bet for seat number 3, and it looks like Helena Dalli might make it after all. That would mean Chris Agius losing his parliamentary seat.
- 17:29 pm
On to district 3, where Owen Bonnici (PL) is the only candidate officially elected so far. Carmelo Abela, Etienne Grech and George Vella (all PL) are all looking likely to make it, while the PN's Mario Galea should also come through.
That would leave Carm Mifsud Bonnici out in the cold.
- 17:33 pm
In district 4, Joseph Muscat again leads the way. Newcomer and gas guru Konrad Mizzi is also elected. Silvio Parnis is close to the finishing line, with Chris Fearne (also PL) some distance behind.
The PL reckons it will get 4 seats here, which would leave just one spot for the PN - a spot Jason Azzopardi looks to have secured. Again, that would mean Carm Mifsud Bonnici losing out.
If Joseph Muscat opts to give up his seat in this district (seeing as he's been elected on two), Gino Cauchi might reenter parliament through the back door.
- 17:38 pm
District 5, where PL stalwart Karmenu Vella has breezed through. He'll probably be joined by Marlene Farrugia, who's gone past the 3,000 mark and is close to reaching the quota now. Joe Sammut (PL) is also likely to get a seat.
The PN have Anthony Bezzina who's almost made it.
If the PL wins four seats here, as it expects to do, then Edward Scicluna will breath a sigh of relief.
- 17:39 pm
In the 6th, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca stormed home yesterday. She's the highest-polling female candidate of this election, and by some distance too. Silvio Schembri and Roderick Galdes aren't there yet, but it seems to be only a matter of time.
On the PN side, Clyde Puli and newcomer Ryan Callus seem the best-placed to snatch seats.
- 17:40 pm
By the way, that would leave PL veteran Charles Mangion out of the running.
- 17:46 pm
In the 7th district, Ian Borg led the PL pack and was the first person elected. Family doctor and fireworks enthusiast Godfrey Farrugia should also come through, forming a power couple with his partner (and fellow PL MP) Marlene Farrugia.
The PN has a definite seat with Lawrence Gonzi, with Joe Cassar also looking good. We'll have a bye-election here if Dr Gonzi decides to give up his seat (he's also been elected elsewhere).
That leaves a battle for that third PL seat between Charles Buhagiar, Gavin Gulia, Sandro Craus and Chris Cilia.
- 17:48 pm
Glance at Sky News, see "Playboy launches its Hebrew edition". Who knew photos came in different languages?
- 17:53 pm
Back to the decidedly less steamy ambiance at Naxxar, where Ivan Camilleri runs me through the 8th district candidates.
Chris Cardona (PL), Tonio Fenech (PN) and Beppe Fenech Adami (PN) are officially elected. That leaves two seats up for grabs, and it's all in the balance. Edward Zammit Lewis (PL) looks likely, but he might find himself scrapping for votes with Edward Scicluna.
And on the Nationalist side, Claudette Buttigieg and Michael Asciak are both in with a chance.
- 17:59 pm
In the 9th district, Simon Busuttil is the only candidate to have reached the quota so far. George Pullicino and Robert Arrigo (both PN) are in strong positions. All three candidates may end up being elected on two districts each, which would pave the way for a female double-whammy - Marthese Portelli and Kristy Debono.
On the Labour end of the spectrum, Manuel Mallia leads proceedings.Leo Brincat is some 400 votes ahead of Michael Falzon and likely to pip him to that second PL seat.
- 18:04 pm
District 10: Robert Arrigo, George Pullicino and Francis Zammit Dimech are the PN's best performers here. The first two have already been elected, the third is closing in. if Arrigo and/or Pullicino give up their seat here, Albert Fenech is poised to take advantage.
For the PL, Evarist Bartolo is just a couple of hundred votes from being officially elected. Manuel Mallia is a few hundred behind him. Michael Falzon lags behind. He might still get into parliament if Bartolo or Mallia give up their district seat, but that'll mean no cabinet position for the hunter-cum-home affairs spokesman.
- 18:08 pm
In district 11, Anthony Agius Decelis has outpolled Louis Grech, though both will be elected for the PL. On the PN side, Simon Busuttil is already elected. There's only 300-odd votes separating David Agius, Joe Cassar and Edwin Vassallo, so keep your eyes peeled for a battle there.
- 18:11 pm
And I've been told vote counting has just been completed for district 12. The PN has Robert Cutajar, Tonio Fenech and Michael Gonzi in the bag, which means Censu Galea loses his seat.
The two PL candidates will be Evarist Bartolo and Michael Farrugia. If Bartolo gives his seat up here, Deborah Schembri should pip it.
- 18:13 pm
District 13, for those of you just popping in, was closed off this morning. Giovanna Debono and Chris Said took two seats for the PN, with Anton Refalo and Franco Mercieca as the PL's two MPs.
That fifth seat went down to the wire, with Frederick Azzopardi (PN) losing out to Justyne Caruana (PL) by just 9 votes.
- 18:25 pm
And news has started trickling in about the new government's first appointments.
Keith Schembri, who masterminded the Labour party's electoral campaign, has been appointed the Prime Minister's chief of staff. He'll do what Edgar Galea Curmi did for the Gonzi administration.
Kurt Farrugia, who led the Labour Party's communications team, will move office from Hamrun to Valletta and be Muscat's head of communications.
Mario Cutajar, a union man cut of GWU cloth, has been appointed cabinet secretary. Godwin Grima will remain as principal permanent secretary for the time being.
- 18:32 pm
Also, French President Francois Hollande has written to Muscat to congratulate him on his win.
"At this crucial moment for Europe, and notably within the Eurozone, we should be working together for growth and prosperity, strenghten the Union and reinforce the solidarity that binds us and the relationship of friendship and trust between our two countries is essential."
Sounds like they ran this congratulatory note through Google translate if you ask me.
- 18:40 pm
Let's broaden this blog's horizons and take a quick look at Denmark, where a TV station there ran a news report about the war in Syria using a background they thought was of war-torn Damascus....but which viewers soon pointed out was a screenshot from a popular video game.
Happens to the best of us. And to Channel TV2 in Denmark.
- 18:50 pm
We've been told Joseph Muscat is due to address the nation in an hour's time. His equivalent to a State of the Union address, perhaps?
- 18:52 pm
But - alas! - it's time for my daily tot of whiskey, and seeing as I'm not allowed to drink on the job, I'm going to be clocking off now.
If you'd like to keep track of how the vote counting is coming along, check out our 'Election Results' interactive map. You'll find it on the home page, and clicking on each district will give you information about each one. Clicking on the '2013 candidates' button in the top-right corner gives you information about each candidate.
Keep sending us your comments below or tweets to @bertu123 . If they're election-related, add the hashtag #malta2013.
Thanks for tuning in, hope we kept you informed and entertained!