PN to follow-up judicial process on vote recounts
The Nationalist Party may appeal a court decision which rejected its request for a recount of the votes cast in the general election on the eighth and the thirteenth electoral district, newly-elected MP Paula Mifsud Bonnici indicated this evening.
"We obviously respect the court decision but we will follow-up the judicial process," Dr Mifsud Bonnici, president of the PN national council, said on Radio 101 this afternoon.
She said that mistakes made in the counting of the ballot papers on the eighth and thirteenth districts meant that the PN had been denied two parliamentary seats.
According to the established formula, she argued, the difference in parliament between the PL and th PN should be seven seats, not nine.
The Constitutional Court had turned down the PN requests, saying there was no juridical need to have the recounts.
In this case, the court said, the candidates were not going to suffer any “prejudice” because they were still going to get elected.
Under the Constitution, the court observed, four seats had to be 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.
Mr Azzopardi had claimed Labour candidate Justyne Caruana had earned an extra nine votes because of a mistake by the Electoral Commission when counting the votes of the thirteenth district.
Several electoral commissioners testified that 10 votes had gone missing and the mistake was discovered when the votes of PN candidate Paul Buttigieg were being distributed.
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 her 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.
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.