Nationalist Party wins third term in Malta

March 10th, 2008 - 6:27 am ICT by admin  

Valletta (Malta), March 10 (DPA) The ruling Nationalist Party (PN) in Malta has claimed victory in Saturday’s general elections to take control of the government for a third consecutive term. The PN obtained mere 1,200 votes more than the opposition Labour Party, the PN’s general secretary Joe Saliba said Sunday. The Labour Party is expected to ask for a recount.

The result was so close that Saliba made the announcement nine-and-a-half hours from the start of counting. Thousands of PN supporters took to the streets Sunday night to celebrate the victory.

It was a roller coaster of emotions for the 400,000 inhabitants of the Mediterranean island, with Labour Party officials indicating early Sunday that the party had won an absolute majority, causing premature celebrations that soon fizzled out as news started coming in that the PN had made inroads.

The PN victory is largely attributed to leader Lawrence Gonzi, 54, who has overhauled the economy, introduced the euro and promised to revamp his own party if re-elected.

The two smaller parties, the Green Party and Alterniva Demokratika, and the right-wing Azzjoni Nazzjonali failed to make any impact.

A total of 93 percent of the electorate cast their vote in Malta’s first election since EU membership - a low turnout by Maltese standards.

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