PL’s establishment candidates defeated

PN MEP-elect and outgoing President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola has far outstripped her competition in last Saturday’s election, establishing a record of first-count votes since Malta joined the EU.

Considered the overall winner of this election, the mother of four, boosted by her high-profile two-and-a-half-year stint as President of the European Parliament, garnered the first preference of 87,473 voters, or an impressive 80% of all those who voted for the PN.

Riding her sudden wave of popularity, Metsola, who first contested in 2004 and failed to make it, twice, took over the baton from her once PN ‘rival’ Simon Busuttil, who held the record for 20 years, topping the PN voting chart in 2009 when he was voted-in by almost 69% of all those voting for his party.

More than doubling her performance in 2019, when she topped the PN vote with more than 38,000 votes, her closest MEP and longest-serving Maltese politician in Brussels, David Casa, took full advantage of Metsola’s unwavering popularity, inheriting an impressive 23,000 votes from her surplus, catapulting his election for the fifth consecutive time.

New MEP Peter Agius also got a good boost from Metsola, gaining some 11,000 votes from her and making it to the finish line.

Failure of the establishment on Labour’s front

Alex Agius Saliba – the only remaining incumbent of the four Labour MEPs on the ballot sheet – was by far the first choice of many Labour voters. Plans by two so-called ‘star candidates’, promoted and groomed by the PL establishment over the last years, failed miserably.

Steve Ellul, a BOV employee, backed by former MEP turned Minister Miriam Dalli to win the bulk of her 60,000 plus votes in the 2019 MEP elections, failed to achieve the target.

Despite being pushed considerably by Miriam Dalli, who first put him on a lucrative government consultancy post and then as CEO of Project Green, Ellul did not get the necessary votes from Labour voters.

Steve Ellul and Miriam Dalli.

During his stint at Project Green, Ellul gave direct orders and spent public money on projects to help boost his public image – with limited results.

Clint Azzopardi Flores, the husband of veteran Labour stalwart Ray Azzopardi and by far the most EU-experienced candidate on the Labour ticket, also did not strike a chord with Labourites.

Prime Minister Robert Abela backed Azzopardi Flores from Bormla as his favourite candidate. Apart from Ray Azzopardi’s closeness with the PL’s roots, the economist was immediately given a job with Bank of Valletta upon his return from Brussels just a few years ago. He was also embedded in various TVM and ONE TV programmes, increasing his visibility.

Despite spending tens of thousands on a glitzy campaign, Azzopardi Flores only gained 7,482 votes, making him one of the least popular figures on the PL ballot sheet.

Surprisingly, Labour candidate Thomas Bajada, 29, from Gozo, won the race to Brussels even though he started as a complete outsider.

The young Gozitan got involved in politics only last February when he announced his bid to contest the election. His name cropped up only when Labour became desperate for a Gozitan candidate.

Former Gozitan MEP Josianne Cutajar did not re-contest, while disgraced former Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana rejected Robert Abela’s invitation to contest after he sacked her twice from Cabinet to put his friend Minister Clint Camilleri in her stead.

Bajada managed to sail through the election relatively easily, gaining his seat in Brussels with a low-key campaign and leaving behind the PL’s star candidates.

                           

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Emanjel Cilia Debono
Emanjel Cilia Debono
12 days ago

I hate using the word ‘establishment’ for the government clique. The words ‘establishment ‘ and ‘elite’ are used by populists to refer to those who oppose them. And -strangely enough- The Prime Minister pretends he is not populist. The results of the E.U election came as a big unwelcome surprise for the Labour Party . More surprises are perhaps in store when the votes cast at local council elections are counted. The PN is no doubt a big winner, no matter what the populists want us believe. Hats off to Roberta Metsola and Bernard Grech ,and the whole organisation of the PN.

Last edited 12 days ago by Emanjel Cilia Debono
Out of Curiosity
Out of Curiosity
12 days ago

Apart from being the only Gozitan who represented the LP on the ballot sheet, Bajada was the only LP candidate who did not turn to Joseph Muscat’s endoresement. It paid him back very well.

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