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Title: The European Parliament election in Malta, June 6, 2009
Authors: Pace, Roderick
Keywords: European Parliament -- Elections, 2009
European Union -- Malta
Elections -- Malta
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: EPERN
Citation: The European Parties Elections and Referendums Network (EPERN). (2009). The European Parliament election in Malta, June 06, 2009. European Parliament Election Briefing No.27., Sussex European Institute.
Abstract: The second European Parliament (EP) election in Malta was again won by the opposition Labour Party which took three out of the five seats allocated to Malta (possibly four if and when the Lisbon Treaty is ratified and Malta’s seats in the EP increase to six). The Labour Party gains go against the European trend where socialist parties have as a whole lost ground. But its causes are similar to elsewhere, mainly disgruntlement with the governing party. The change of leadership of the Labour Party may have also have increased its attractiveness. This was the soundest defeat suffered by the Nationalist Party at the polls in the past two decades. The Nationalist Party has been in power since 1987 (barring the short stint out of government in between 1996-98). Turnout dropped to 78.8% from 82.39% in the 2004 EP election. This is lower still than that of the 2008 national election turnout which was 93.3%. Notwithstanding this decline in turnout, voter participation in Malta is still the third highest in the EU after that of Belgium and Luxembourg, where voting is mandatory. In this election both national and EU issues featured in the campaign with the governing Nationalist Party projecting its ‘achievements’ in Europe, while the Labour Party focused mostly on national issues and the adverse effects of the recession. But, on the whole, national/domestic issues were more salient. Far right fringe parties made some important gains riding on concerns about irregular immigration. The Green party, Alternattiva Demokratika, fared very badly despite its effort to try and take the still potential sixth seat and notwithstanding that green issues have gained in importance in Maltese politics. Voters seem to have become more discerning: they rewarded those incumbent candidates seeking re-election who had shown commitment in their EP duties and supported the new candidates perceived to be capable of doing a good job in Brussels. On the other hand, they punished incumbents whose EP work was perceived to have been below expectations.
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