Voting for the election of the new Labour Party leader came to an end on Saturday at 2000h (local time). Voting will be held at the Party HQ in Ħamrun. The party’s electoral commission announced that at 58.3% of 17,531 eligible paid up members had voted by 2.30pm on Saturday.
21.10 Second, 10th an 13th District had highest turnout with 94%. The least turnout was registered in the 12th district, with 89%. (Newsbook)
21:05 Both candidates have agreed with the party’s electoral commission not to take samples as the vote counting takes place. Counting agents say they haven’t even brought pen and paper to keep track. In principle, this could mean it will take longer to have a clear indication of which why things are headed, but agents still expect to have a rough idea as the evening proceeds. Word around the counting hall is that things are expected to be close. (Times of Malta)
21:00 The reconciliation process has begun to check that the number of votes in the boxes tally with the records kept by the electoral assistants in every polling booth. (Malta Independent)
20:55 – According to MaltaToday, the provisional voting turnout suggests that 92.5% of the 17,500 members eligible to vote cast their ballot. 16,217 casted their vote.
Polling stations at 13 PL clubs – one in each electoral district – opened at 8am. Vote counting is taking place at PL headquarters in Hamrun after all ballot boxes arrive. The results are expected later tonight, possibly in the early hours of Sunday. The report says that around 30 media houses, including Reuters, BBC, and Al Jazeera have been granted access to cover the event. Counting agents for both candidates have taken their place behind the perspex as the ballot boxes started coming in. (MaltaToday)
A survey by the same portal indicates that Robert Abela has come from behind to edge ahead in what promises to be a very tight leadership contest. The survey, which is not an exit poll, was conducted among Labour Party members who were eligible to vote. It was held between Wednesday 8 January and Friday 10 January. Abela’s support ranges between 46.4% and 56.6%, while Fearne’s ranges between 43.4% and 53.6%.
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Earlier – Malta’s governing Labour Party is voting for a new leader who will also be the country’s Prime Minister.
17,500 Labour Party members will choose between Robert Abela and Chris Fearne after an intense five-week campaign.
The new leader will succeed Prime Minister Joseph Muscat who chose to step down following revelations in the investigations into the 2017 murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Outgoing Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced his resignation on 1 December, but he said he will make way once the Labour Party elects his successor. Muscat, who is not directly implicated in the case, announced his resignation last month after testimony by the self-confessed middleman in the murder plot linked people in his inner circle to attempts at an alleged cover-up.
Joseph Muscat was elected leader of the Labour Party in 2008. He won two consecutive terms as prime minister in parliamentary elections in 2013 and 2017 and is credited with the transformation of Malta’s economy to make it the best performer in the European Union. He also ushered in radical social reforms including same-sex marriage.
His tenure was also marred by serious shadows and allegations of corruption, often revealed by murdered journalist Caruana Galizia.
Once the voting is over at 8pm tonight, all 13 ballot boxes will be transferred to the Labour Party headquarters, where the counting of votes will take place. All boxes need to arrive before the counting starts, meaning that this could take up to two hours given that one of the boxes will have to be brought from Gozo.
Via Reuters / Times of Malta / Malta Today / Newsbook.com.mt