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News • February 15 2004

Nominations for leadership post will re-open if nobody obtains two thirds support

Kurt Sansone
Four years of EU negotiations have not been enough for Foreign Minister Joe Borg, he now heads the electoral commission that will handle the hotly contested PN leadership race.
Addressing a press conference yesterday, Borg confirmed that if the first round of elections on 28 February does not produce a winner with at least 66 per cent of the PN general council votes, the general council will be convened for a re-run between the top two contestants on 3 March.
If none of the two contestants obtains 66 per cent support the electoral commission will re-open the nominations.
Borg explained that any candidate can submit his or her nomination at this stage.
The next round of elections will then be held on 19 March and if only two candidates are in the run off a simple majority would suffice to determine the winner. If, however unlikely, more than two nominations are submitted the process of eliminating the candidate with the least votes is repeated until only two are left.
The electoral commission was appointed Saturday 7 February during an executive committee meeting and apart from Joe Borg it is composed of Parliamentary Secretary Dolores Cristina, Tony Abela from the solidarity section, Michelle Mallia from the women’s section and treasurer Peter Darmanin.
In 1977 the first contest saw a three way race between Censu Tabone, Guido de Marco and Eddie Fenech Adami. None of the contestants obtained the 66 per cent threshold in the first round, and accordingly Censu Tabone, the candidate with the least votes, was eliminated.
In the run off between Eddie Fenech Adami and Guido de Marco, Fenech Adami obtained an absolute majority but failed to reach the 66 per cent target.
As a consequence the nominations were re-opened but only Eddie Fenech Adami submitted his candidature with Guido de Marco agreeing to drop out and sign Fenech Adami’s nomination.
In the ensuing round Fenech Adami obtained more than the required two-thirds majority and was thus declared the winner.
Meanwhile, Joe Borg yesterday announced that the three candidates have been given the list of 870 eligible councillors.
The electoral commission will be receiving any objections on the eligibility of councillors up to 20 February. Voting documents would then be distributed from the PN headquarters on 22 and 23 February and councillors would have to pick up the document in person. The electoral commission would then have to hand deliver any remaining voting documents before the first general council on 28 February.
All electoral commission members said they did not nominate any of the candidates, when asked by MaltaToday.

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