General Election 2013 under way as polling stations open

Polling stations are opening across Malta and Gozo as the general election gets under way.

6,523 voting documents remained uncollected, practically the same percentage as in 2008, meaning the number of eligible voters today is 326 296, including 29,000 voting for the first time.

Several thousand people voted last Saturday and yesterday - Some 2,000 who are abroad today voted last Saturday while patients voted in hospitals yesterday, including the army of some 4,800 assistant electoral commissioners.

The ballot boxes were distributed to the polling stations in schools and parish halls over the past few days. Assistant Electoral Commissioners were at their places at 6 a.m. today, checking and ballot boxes and ensuring that the number of ballot papers tallies with their documents. 

A total of 269 candidates are contesting the 65 parliamentary seats.

Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. and remain open without interruption till 10 p.m.

Small queues formed before the polling stations opened in several localities such as Valletta and the Three Cities. A long queue was reported near St Sebastian School in Qormi early in the morning.

34 localities in Malta and Gozo are also holding local council elections today. 17,543 voting documents for those elections remained uncollected.

Opposition leader Joseph Muscat will vote at 9 a.m. today at Burmarrad school.

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi will vote at 10 a.m. at Marsascala School, followed by the President in the same place at 10.45 a.m.

After polling stations close at 10 p.m. the ballot boxes will be sealed and transported to Naxxar counting hall. At the same time,  the ballot boxes used in early voting will be opened and the number of ballot papers checked to ensure that numbers tally - a process known as reconciliation.

The sorting of the ballot papers starts tomorrow at 11 a.m., and the political parties will be in a position to start making their projections at about noon.




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