16 November 2008

EuroCountdown: Malta

The first in a weekly series, in which I preview the Elections to the European Parliament next June.


MEPs now: 5
MEPs in June: 5, assuming the Lisbon Treaty isn't ratified

2004 results

Partit Laburista (Labour Party) - 118,983 - 48.4% - 3 seats
Partit Nazzjonalista (Nationalist Party) - 97,688 - 39.8% - 2 seats
Alternattiva Demokratika (Democratic Alternative) - 22,938 - 9.3% - 0 seats

Prediction: No change.

The Nationalist Government was re-elected in Malta this March, but the result was on a knife-edge: in a 69-seat House of Representatives, they have 35 MPs, to Labour's 34 (sound familiar?), and they won the election by only 1,580 votes. However, Labour have a new Leader and won the European election here in 2004 despite losing the General Election the year previously. So with a small swing to Labour shown in the General, I would put them on track to win again this time around. Further, Labour's new Leader, Joseph Muscat, was an MEP until last year, when he resigned his seat on winning the Leadership Contest. I expect him to place a key level of importance on these elections, given his CV, and the fact that this is the first key electoral test for his Leadership.

I do not forecast a gain for Democratic Alternative: they seemed to be squeezed in the General - that was the case in 2003 as well - and they do appear more attractive, possibly as a protest vote, in a Euro contest, but the sheer paucity of seats makes matters nigh-on impossible for them.

Labour are currently in the Party of European Socialists in the EP, while the Nationalists are members of the European People's Party. It's possible that David Cameron will try and lure them into the Movement for European Reform group after 2009 but I wouldn't wager any money on them actually joining it. Democratic Alternative are affiliated to the Greens but aside from perhaps a few extra votes, the carve-up of Malta's five seats between the Big 2 means that they won't have anything to shout about.


Grogipher said...

27 weeks' worth? Hehe, that's some effort!

Peter Black said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter Black said...

What does the recent by-election for a European seat in Malta indicate about trends? I noted that it was an easy win for Labour but did not see any indications as to swings from previous elections.

Will said...

Peter, the reason it was such a massive swing to Labour is that all three candidates had been Labour candidates in 2004: it would appear that the possible candidates were restricted to unsuccessful Labour candidates from four years ago. The best way I can think of illustrating it is to imagine that if a List MSP or AM quit, a By-Election had to be held to replace them, consisting of the remaining candidates on that Party's list. So Glenn Bedingfield was just the most popular of the three Labour candidates.

And as he was the most popular of those three (but, obviously, not all eight) then, there's really very little change.

Grogipher, consider it an extra feature for my readers. And a shameless attempt to pull in traffic from other countries. ;)