Court rejects vote recount requests
The Constitutional Court has turned down requests by two Nationalist candidates to recount the votes in the eighth and 13th districts, saying there was no juridical need to do so.
Candidates were not going to suffer any “prejudice” because they were still going to get elected, the court ruled.
Under the Constitution, four seats must be credited to the Nationalist Party to achieve representation in Parliament proportional to its number one votes.
One of them is going to be assigned to Fredrick Azzopardi, a candidate for Gozo, and another to Claudette Buttigieg Pace, who contested in Birkirkara.
Earlier this week, they both filed urgent constitutional applications requesting a recount in their districts.
Mr Azzopardi claimed Labour candidate Justyne Caruana had earned an extra nine votes because of a mistake by the Electoral Commission.
Several electoral commissioners testified that 10 votes had gone missing and the mistake was discovered when the votes of Labour candidate Paul Buttigieg were being distributed.
When they sought legal advice, they were told they should go ahead, especially since a recount had been carried out.
Meanwhile, Ms Buttigieg Pace said that on the 14th count, when the votes of Nationalist candidate Michael Asciak were being redistributed, someone realised there was a bundle of “my number one votes in Dr Asciak’s pile”.
Ms Buttigieg Pace said she was then informed that because of a legal issue these votes could not be given to her. A protest was filed immediately.
However, the court, composed of Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri, Mr Justice Giannino Caruana Demajo and Mr Justice Noel Cuschieri, said that whether being elected through number one votes or by inheriting votes, the two candidates were still going to gain a seat in Parliament.
The law required that the electoral results should be finalised as quickly as possible and “there might be instances where mistakes can’t be corrected”.
The court did not rule out that there may be circumstances where absolute correctness supersedes the interest of certainty. However, this did not apply to the two applicants as they were not going to suffer, the court said.