Malta’s PM sworn in after Labor party’s landslide election win | Elections News

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Labor wins 55.11 percent of the vote, final results show – a bigger win than in 2017 or 2013 despite the low turnout.

Malta’s Prime Minister Robert Abela has been sworn in after a landslide victory in elections that delivered his Labor party a third term in government.

Labor won 55.11 percent of the vote, final results showed on Sunday – a bigger win than in 2017 or 2013 despite low turnout and the legacy of scandal over the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

It was the first electoral test for Abela, a 44-year-old lawyer, since he took the helm of the Mediterranean island nation in January 2020 following a Labor party vote.

His predecessor Joseph Muscat was forced to quit after being accused of shielding his allies from the investigation into Caruana Galizia’s 2017 assassination in a car bomb.

She had accused top members of Muscat’s administration of corruption. A public inquiry last year accused the state of creating a “climate of impunity” in which she was killed.

In Saturday’s vote, Labor secured a majority of almost 40,000 votes over its Nationalist Party rivals – a huge margin in the EU state which has just 355,000 registered voters.

Vincent Marmara, a polling expert who lectures at the University of Malta, said it was “historic”.

“Considering that it was a lower turnout this year, the difference of 39,474 is a massive victory,” he told the AFP news agency.

Supporters gather outside the office of the Prime Minister as Malta's Prime Minister Robert Abela, his wife Lydia Abela and their daughter, Giorgia Mae, wave from a window at Auberge de Castille, after his swearing-in for another term
Supporters gather outside the office of the prime minister [Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters]

The Electoral Commission confirmed turnout was 85.6 percent, the lowest in a Maltese general election since 1955 – and the first time it has dropped below 90 percent since 1966.

The campaign was relatively low-key, limited by coronavirus restrictions, dogged by worries about the war in Ukraine, and hampered by an air of inevitability, as all opinion polls pointed to a Labor landslide.

Abela had campaigned on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the strong economy during the last nine years of Labor government.

The Nationalist Party pushed the issue of corruption, from Caruana Galizia’s murder to the government subsidy checks sent out just before polling day, but has struggled with internal divisions.

“They made no inroads,” Marmara said.

Electoral Commission figures showed Labor secured 55.11 percent of the vote, up from 55.04 percent in 2017, easily beating the Nationalist Party’s 41.74 percent.

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