MaltaToday | 18 May 2008 |

NEWS | Sunday, 18 May 2008

Who will be electing the new Labour leader

JAMES DEBONO analyses the profile of the MLP delegate and finds he is typically male, southern and middle aged

A MaltaToday analysis reveals that middle-aged males hailing from the party’s strongholds in the south predominate the Malta Labour Party’s electoral college.
In fact 56% of the delegates which will be expected to elect the new leader are over 50 years old, and only 15% are under 35.
With the exception of Gozo which is represented by a strong contingent of 87 delegates, southern MLP-leaning districts tend to be more represented than PN-leaning northern districts.
Significantly the eleventh and eight districts – which include Mosta and B’Kara, Malta’s two largest urban centres – are the two most under represented districts.
This reflects the fact that these large two urban conglomerates have only one Labour club each. Yet while the Bormla branch is represented by 11 delegates, the much bigger B’Kara is represented by nine.
Fgura, Hamrun, Qormi and Zabbar each are the most represented localities, with 15 delegates each.
This suggests that, Gozo apart, localities and districts with a Nationalist majority are the least represented in the party’s highest body. This could prove a handicap for the party in reaching out to non-Labour voters.
The 87 delegates from Gozo, where outsider George Abela is considered more popular, could play an important role in determining whether a run-off will take place in an eventual second round.
One notable exception to the rule is the ninth district, which includes localities like San Gwann and Msida, and is represented by 53 delegates – 14 of whom hail from San Gwann. Significantly, the MLP scored major gains in local elections held in this district over the past five years.
When it comes to age, leadership contender Joseph Muscat is in a minority in his party. Only 15% of MLP delegates are under 35, while 6% are over 70. The youngest delegate who will be voting is 18 years old, while the oldest is 90.
The number of young delegates is boosted by a 35-strong contingent of the Forum Zghazagh Laburisti, known for their sympathies towards Joseph Muscat.
The MLP’s two think tanks – the Fondazzjoni Guze Ellul Mercer and the Fondazzjoni Mikiel Anton Vassalli – are represented by 10 delegates, less than half the number of delegates reserved for the Brigata Laburista.
The Brigata Laburista, whose declared aim is to “cultivate a national conscience” among children and to assist them in their “cultural and educational development” according to “social democratic beliefs”, has 25 delegates, most of whom over 50 years of age.
The Labour Party has only two special delegates; former party leader Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici and Charles Muscat, who represents the MLP in Australia. Former leader Duminku Mintoff is not even included as a special delegate.
But old Labour is still represented by the likes of Wistin Abela and Lorry Sant’s brother and former MP, Salvu Sant. Jason Micallef’s predecessor Jimmy Magro is still a party delegate.


Demographic profile of delegates
Only 27.9% of the delegates are women
56.2% are over 59 year old
5.8% are over 70 years old
Only 14.7% are under 35 years of age

The MLP’s Electoral College:
Locality representatives (Malta) 509
Locality representatives (Gozo) 81
District representatives 78
Candidates 40
Forum Zghazagh Laburisti 35
MPs 34
Local Councillors 29
Nisa Laburisti 25
Veterans 25
Brigata Laburista 25
Officials 7
Fondazzjoni Mikiel Anton Vasalli 5
Fondazzjoni Guze Ellul Mercer 5
MEPs 3
Special delegates 2

Local branches with highest number of delegates
Fgura 15
Hamrun 15
Zabbar 15
Qormi 15
Zurrieq 14
San Gwann 14

Electoral Districts with highest number of delegates
Thirteenth 87 PN
Fifth District 75 MLP
Second District 65 MLP
Fourth District 57 MLP
Ninth District 53 PN
First District 52 MLP
Tenth District 46 PN
Seventh District 46 MLP
Third District 43 MLP
Sixth District 41 MLP
Twelfth District (North) 36 PN
Eleventh District (Mosta) 31 PN
Eight District (B’Kara) 30 PN

A) Districts with greatest amount of delegates
B) Majority in 2008 election

(Each electoral districts is represented by 6 delegates as well as by delegates hailing from the different localities)

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