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Mapping out the PN contest

On Thursday the PN executive is expected to lay down the parameters for the PN leadership contest and appoint an electoral commission to oversee it.

The party statute says the executive may receive nominations up to two months from when the vacancy for leader arises.

To be elected leader a candidate has to obtain two-thirds of votes cast. If the threshold is not reached the candidate with the least votes is eliminated and a new round of elections is held.

The two-thirds threshold will be in place even if Dr Gonzi contests alone and if he does not reach it a simple majority on the second round will suffice.

In 2004 the leadership contest started on February 7 when then leader Eddie Fenech Adami resigned as PN leader but stayed on as Prime Minister (he resigned as PM after the PN chose its leader).

Nominations opened for a week on February 9 and closed on Valentine’s Day. Lawrence Gonzi, John Dalli and Louis Galea submitted their nominations. The first round of elections was held on February 28.

Dr Gonzi obtained 508 votes (59.3 per cent), Mr Dalli polled 219 votes (25.3 per cent) and Dr Galea received 133 (15.4 per cent). Four votes were declared invalid.

Dr Galea was eliminated after placing third and Mr Dalli withdrew his candidature, leaving Dr Gonzi to face the second round of voting on March 3 alone.

Dr Gonzi was elected leader, obtaining 808 of the 859 votes cast by PN councillors and securing 94.1 per cent of the vote.

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