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NEWS | Sunday, 16 March 2008

Labour obtains absolute majority in local councils despite PN swing

Charlot Zahra
David Darmanin

The results of the March 8 Local Council elections in 23 localities across Malta and Gozo, which were counted yesterday at the Naxxar counting hall, showed that the Malta Labour Party (MLP) has retained its overall absolute majority despite a 2% swing in favour of the Nationalist Party (PN).
This time, the MLP won 52.21% of the total vote when compare to 46.07% obtained by the PN, 1.11% obtained by Alternattiva Demokratika (AD) and 0.61% obtained by independent candidates.
Three years ago the MLP won 53.18% of the total votes polled in the 23 localities compared to 44.84% for the PN, 1.73% for AD and 0.93% obtained by independent candidates.
The PN has regained its majorities in Santa Venera and Mqabba, two borderline localities, where the new mayors will be Elizabeth Vella instead of outgoing MLP mayor Stephen Sultana, and Noel Galea instead of outgoing MLP mayor Nicholas Briffa. In the last case, the Nationalist Party won the locality by just ten votes.
In a cliffhanger finish, the PN snatched another key locality, Mellieha from Labour at the 13th and final count shortly before 10 pm when PN candidate Patrick Cutajar ended up with 630 votes, 16 votes more than Labour candidate Mary Stellini, who ended up with 614 votes and was therefore not elected.
Therefore the new Mellieha mayor is PN candidate Robert Cutajar, taking over from incumbent Labour mayor John Buttigieg. This despite the fact that the MLP obtained 51.33% as against 48.50% obtained by the PN in the first count votes on this locality.
The only localities where the PN lost votes were Nadur and Valletta. The PN was expected to gain new seats in Kirkop, Xewkija, Mqabba, Sta Venera, Zejtun and Marsa.
The MLP gained a new seat in Ghajnsielem, the first time it will hold two seats in that five-seat council. In 2005, an independent candidate had obtained the seat instead.
In Valletta, independent candidate Jeffery Farrugia polled a respectable 209 votes, almost 5% of votes cast.
The PN gained from the fact that turnout increased by almost 20% to 86% from the elections in the same localities in 2005.
In Nadur, former PN deputy mayor Miriam Portelli clinched the mayor’s post left vacant by the incumbent, Chris Said – who was elected to Parliament during the March 8 general elections – by just one vote over Charles Said.
At St Paul’s Bay, the mayor’s seat (the incumbent, Paul Bugeja, did not contest) has been taken over by new candidate Graziella Galea, the daughter of outgoing Competitiveness and Communications Minister Censu Galea, who definitely fared better than her father did at the General Elections, where he failed to get elected.
None of AD’s six candidates in Balzan, Iklin, Nadur, St Julian’s, St Paul’s Bay and Santa Venera were elected in this round of Local Council elections.
In the election for Dingli council, the youngest mayor in Malta and Gozo, Ian Borg, was confirmed with 1,290 votes out of 2,376 valid votes cast, more than half the votes cast.
In Ghajnsielem, Nationalist candidate Francis Cauchi was re-elected for the sixth time. Cauchi has been mayor ever since the local council was established in 1994.
In St Julian’s, Peter Bonello was re-confirmed as Nationalist mayor with a difference of only 10 votes separating him from deputy mayor Karl Gouder.
Other PN mayors confirmed include Saviour Borg in Fontana, John Zammit Montebello in Balzan, Andrew Vella in Ghasri, Paul Borg Olivier in Valletta, and Anthony Dalli in Iklin.
On the other hand, Labour mayors confirmed include Antoinette Vassallo in Ta’ Xbiex, Joseph Casha in Senglea, Monica Vella in Xewkija, Francis Debono in Marsa, Silvio Izzi Savona in Zurrieq, Brian Bonnici in Zebbug (Malta) and Joe Attard in Zejtun.

List of candidates elected by order of locality until the time we went to print yesterday evening (bold indicates name of mayor, asterisk indicates locality where counting has closed)
BALZAN:* John Zammit Montebello (PN), Joseph Mary Galea (PN), Trevor De Giorgio (PN), John Cassar (MLP), Borg Guido (PN)

DINGLI*: Ian Borg (MLP), David Vassallo (PN), Sandro Azzopardi (MLP), Connie Bonello (MLP), Azzopardi Jacqueline (PN)

FONTANA*: Saviour Borg (PN), Anthony Borg (PN), Lorry Apap (MLP), Victor Cefai, (PN), Horace Micallef (MLP)

GHAJNSIELEM*: Francis Cauchi (PN), Larry Buttigieg (MLP), Stephen Mercieca (PN), Joseph Camilleri (PN), Peter Caruana (MLP)

GHASRI*: Andrew Vella (PN), Frank Formosa (MLP), Mintoff Emanuel (PN), Aquilina Renance (PN), Joseph Farrugia (MLP)

IKLIN*: Anthony Dalli (PN), Yvonne Bartoli (PN), Joseph Camilleri (MLP), Margaret Zammit (MLP), Anthony Dalli (PN)

KIRKOP*: Mario Salerno (MLP), Stephen Mizzi (PN), Nadia Zammit (PN), Joseph Carbone (MLP), Mary Rose Roberts (MLP)

MARSA (6/7): Francis Debono (MLP), Chris Spiteri (MLP), Frank Zammit (PN), Dominic Spencer (MLP), Joseph (Joe) Grima (PN), Anthony Buhagiar (MLP)

MELLIEHA*: John Francis Buttigieg (MLP), Robert Cutajar (PN), Joseph Azzopardi (MLP), Emvin (Emanuel Vincent) Bartolo (PN), Jesmond Fenech (PN), Clayton Bartolo (MLP), Patrick Cutajar (PN)
MQABBA*: Noel Galea (PN), Nicholas Briffa (MLP), Marie Grace Mallia (MLP), Paul Spiteri (PN), Carmel Farrugia (PN)

NADUR*: Maria Natoli (MLP), Mary Portelli (PN), Frank Charles Said (PN), Jonathan Buttigieg (MLP), Rita Marcel Mifsud (PN)

PEMBROKE*: Joseph Zammit (MLP), Alfred Mazzitelli (MLP), Lauro Vittorio Geraldo Fava (PN), Evelyn Vella Brincat (PN), Joseph (Joe) Brincat (MLP)

QRENDI*: Carmelo Falzon (MLP), Daniel Farrugia (PN), Claudette Abela Baldacchino (MLP), Charles Zerafa (MLP), Carmelo Farrugia (PN)

SENGLEA*: Joseph Casha (MLP), Justin J. Camilleri (MLP), Ahar Walter (MLP), Abela Larry (MLP), Charmaine Gerada (PN)

ST JULIAN’S: Peter Bonello (PN), Karl Gouder (PN), Borg Irene (MLP), Vella Norman (MLP), Scicluna Richard (PN), Edgar Montanaro (PN)

ST PAUL’S BAY: Graziella Galea (PN), Alfred Grima (MLP), Alex Bezzina (MLP), John Bray (PN), Peter Abela (PN), Frank Gauci (PN)

STA VENERA: Elizabeth Vella (PN), Horace Anastasi (PN), Stephen Sultana (MLP), Cleaven Christian Bugeja (MLP)

TA’ XBIEX*: Antoinette Vassallo (MLP), Anton Farrugia (MLP) Anthony Cachia Castelletti (PN), Eugenio Muscat (PN), Frank Roe (MLP)

VALLETTA: Paul Borg Olivier (PN), Ray Azzopardi (MLP), Valerie Borg (MLP), Alexiei Dingli (PN), Vincent (Vince) Farrugia (PN), Joseph Spiteri (PN)

XEWKIJA*: Monica Vella (MLP), Teddy Mizzi (PN), Marthese Portelli (PN), Joseph Vella (MLP), Hubert Saliba (MLP)

ZEBBUG (M): Brian Bonnici (MLP), Peter Micallef (PN), Duncan Bartolo (MLP), Alfred Grixti (MLP), Mario Borg (PN)

ZEJTUN: Joe Attard (MLP), Joan Agius (MLP), Elisabeth Wille Piscopo (PN), Fenech Stephania (MLP)

ZURRIEQ: Silvio Izzi Savona (MLP), Charmaine Grech (MLP), Mario Ellul (PN), Joseph D’Amato (MLP), Dino Bonnici (PN), Claudio Zammit (MLP), Raymond Grixti (MLP)


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