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Media personalities, switchers and controversy

The final results are seeping through our complex electoral system, revealing who our MPs will be. Besides the overall party majority, individual candidate preferences also reflect the mood and trends of the electorate.

Some candidates tend to have particularly high media profiles during the election campaign, often controversial. How did voters respond?

Firstly, the media/entertainment personalities. The results show that they did not do that well, considering their wide reach. Earlier this year the PN had temporarily taken electoral candidates off air as media presenters, thinking they would have an unfair advantage but this has turned out not to be the case.

Norman Vella and David Thake have a strong audience base, but that did not necessarily translate into votes for themselves personally. Salvu Mallia was a popular TV presenter but has done badly at the polls. Glenn Bedingfield’s performance has not been impressive.

Perhaps media entertainment and politics don’t mix well in people’s minds after all.

Secondly, controversial ‘switchers’ who featured in the campaign have not been rewarded by voters. Ian Castaldi Paris and Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando are out. Salvu Mallia also fits in here. Godfrey Farrugia seems to be out, although to be fair he left PL at the last minute so had little time to campaign as PD. Marlene Farrugia has done better, but not in her home district.

Perhaps it is a question of trust. Floating and switching is fine for personal voting, but is not appreciated in public figures or politicians.

High-profile controversial politician Konrad Mizzi did extremely well with PL voters. But that is different. The allegations of corruption surrounding Mizzi were a potential threat to the PL as a whole, and the knives are still out. In this case, perhaps people rallied in a show of support for the party as well as the individual.

petracdingli@gmail.com

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