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Naxxar counting hall taken over until 2014

Pigeon holes at the counting hall in Naxxar are all set to receive the ballot sheets of council elections in 35 localities. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier.

Pigeon holes at the counting hall in Naxxar are all set to receive the ballot sheets of council elections in 35 localities. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier.

The Electoral Commission has taken over the Naxxar Counting Hall until after the 2014 MEP elections at an undisclosed annual rent.

Chief Electoral Commissioner Saviour Gauci said the commission felt it made a lot of sense, financially and logistically, to set up the hall once rather than keep setting it up and dismantling it after every election.

Besides the MEP election, Malta is bracing for a general election and local council elections next year.

When asked how much the commission was paying in annual rent for the three-year lease agreement, Mr Gauci said this information was “commercially sensitive” and “not in the public domain”.

Apart from the tables where the votes will be counted, the new counting hall, at the former trade fair centre in Naxxar, includes a press room and separate chilling out areas for political party activists.

This is the first time local council elections are being held in half of Malta’s towns and villages but since the 2008 general election, the commission has been kept busy with local elections and the MEP elections in 2009 as well as the nationwide divorce referendum last year.


36,500

The number of voting documents that were still uncollected by Tuesday.


On the latter occasion, the counting hall moved to the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta since the lease of the Naxxar premises had expired. Back then, the commission said it was looking for another place since the former counting hall in Ta’ Qali had been knocked down and replaced by the new US embassy.

According to the October 2011 electoral register, there are 192,200 registered voters for Saturday’s elections, including 21,400 foreign EU citizens resident in Malta.

However, since a few have since died, the actual number of voting documents issued totalled some 191,700. Policemen distributed 142,600 voting documents and a further 12,500 were picked up from police stations.

Mr Gauci said that by Tuesday, there were 36,500 documents still uncollected but about 600 were being picked up every day. Documents will continue to be handed out until midnight today.

There are 419 candidates for the 239 council seats available. Alternattiva Demokratika has fielded 10 candidates, the Labour Party fielded 200 while the Nationalist Party has 198 candidates.

Another 11 candidates are contesting on behalf of small parties or as independents.

There are 308 ballot boxes spread out in 54 polling stations. Thirty-five ballot votes were used for early voting last Saturday by those who will be abroad.

Assistant electoral commissioners vote tomorrow in another 35 boxes.

Commission representative Louis Fsadni, who addressed a briefing for journalists yesterday, said once voting closed at 7 p.m. on Saturday, the ballot boxes in Malta will be taken to the Naxxar counting hall where sorting and counting would start immediately. In Gozo, the process will take place at the sports hall.

First results are due on Saturday night and all counting is expected to be over by late on Sunday, he said.

There will be 1,111 counting staff and another 1,900 assistant electoral commissioners in the various polling stations.

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