Malta premier claims election win for latest Labour triumph

Mar 27, 2022, 3:39 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2022, 5:51 am

VALLETTA, Malta (AP) — Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abela on Sunday claimed victory in his nation’s parliamentary election hours ahead of official results.

If the win is confirmed, that would mean the Labour Party will start its third consecutive term in office, beating out its traditional rival, the Nationalist Party. The election was held Saturday in the Mediterranean island nation of around 500,000 people that is a member of the European Union.

The actual vote count was expected to be completed and announced either later on Sunday or early Monday.

“Yesterday, the Maltese people decided that Malta should keep moving forward,” Abela told reporters in a brief statement in the counting hall where the election results were being tallied.

Earlier, Abela told the Maltese state broadcaster: “We have a clear indication that the Labour Party will have an absolute majority.”

Labour had the lead in all public opinion polls before the balloting.

His rival for the premiership, Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech posted a video comment on Facebook saying he had called Abela and conceded defeat.

Abela appealed for national unity and pledged that his government will work in the interest of all the people without distinction.

About 85% of eligible voters cast ballots. Normal turnout usually tops 90%.

Abela in January 2020 became prime minister after Joseph Muscat quit amid protests linked to the 2017 car bomb slaying of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who investigated corruption and ties between business interests and politicians in Malta.

During the election campaign, the sale of Maltese citizenship to the wealthy came under fire in the campaign amid EU sanctions against Russian oligarchs in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Nationalists called for the suspension of the sale of citizenship to Russian nationals. Earlier this month, Abela’s government did suspend the sale to both Russian and Belarussian nationals, saying that the existing due diligence checks can’t be carried out effectively in the current scenario of war.

Muscat had been under pressure to step down after the arrest of a prominent local businessman, Yorgen Fenech. An independent inquiry, published in July 2021, into the bombing found that the Maltese state had to “bear responsibility” for the journalist’s assassination due to the culture of impunity that emanated from the highest levels of government at the time.

As in much of southern Europe, high prices have been hurting energy consumers. The Maltese government is subsidizing energy costs to keep prices stable, and both parties in the campaign had pledges to continue the subsidies.

Abela’s government was generally seen as having successfully managed the Covid-19 pandemic, with a number of measures to support businesses and workers, keeping unemployment low.

But a move by the government to issue tax refund and stimulus checks to the public halfway through the campaign sparked controversy. Grech on Sunday decried the issuing of the checks, saying his political opponents sent the funds “to try and influence the electorate.”


This story has been corrected to show that Malta’s population is around 500,000, not 400,000.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


(Facebook Photo/City of San Luis, Arizona)...
Associated Press

San Luis authorities receive complaints about 911 calls going across border

Authorities in San Luis say they are receiving more complaints about 911 calls mistakenly going across the border.
2 days ago
(Pexels Photo)...
Associated Press

Daylight saving time begins in most of US this weekend

No time change is observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.
10 days ago
Mexican army soldiers prepare a search mission for four U.S. citizens kidnapped by gunmen in Matamo...
Associated Press

How the 4 abducted Americans in Mexico were located

The anonymous tip that led Mexican authorities to a remote shack where four abducted Americans were held described armed men and blindfolds.
10 days ago
Tom Brundy points to a newly built irrigation canal on one of the fields at his farm Tuesday, Feb. ...
Associated Press

Southwest farmers reluctant to idle farmland to save water

There is a growing sense that fallowing will have to be part of the solution to the increasingly desperate drought in the West.
17 days ago
A young bison calf stands in a pond with its herd at Bull Hollow, Okla., on Sept. 27, 2022. The cal...
Associated Press

US aims to restore bison herds to Native American lands after near extinction

U.S. officials will work to restore more large bison herds to Native American lands under a Friday order from Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
17 days ago
Children play in a dried riverbed in Flassans-sur-Issole, southern France, Wednesday, March 1, 2023...
Associated Press

Italy, France confront 2nd year of western Europe drought

ROME (AP) — Bracing for Italy’s second consecutive year of drought for the first time in decades, Premier Giorgia Meloni huddled with ministers Wednesday to start mapping out an action plan Wednesday, joining France and other nations in western Europe grappling with scant winter rain and snow. Meloni and her ministers decided to appoint an […]
19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Malta premier claims election win for latest Labour triumph