The maltese confirm their commitment to Europe


Corinne Deloy,  

Fondation Robert Schuman,  

Helen Levy


12 April 2003

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Deloy Corinne

Corinne Deloy

Author of the European Elections Monitor (EEM) for the Robert Schuman Foundation and project manager at the Institute for Political Studies (Sciences Po).

Robert Schuman Fondation

Fondation Robert Schuman

Levy Helen

Helen Levy

The Maltese finally confirmed their desire to integrate the European Union by voting in favour of the pro-European Nationalist Party by a wide majority (51.7% of the vote) during the general elections that took place on 12th April. The Labour Party, the main opposition party won 47.6% of the votes cast and the small ecologist party Alternattiva Demokratika (AD), only won 0.7% of the vote, a lower result than they won in the last general elections (the ecologists won 1.46% of the vote in 1996 and 2% in 1998) thereby preventing it from being represented in the Maltese Parliament. The Nationalists lost one seat in comparison with the last general elections on 5th September 1998, a seat that was transferred to the Opposition. The two parties recorded a very slight rise in the number of votes (0.7 points for the Nationalist Party and 0.6 points for the Labour Party); this development does not jeopardise the country's political equilibrium. The participation rate, as always on this Mediterranean island was particularly high : 96%.

It is therefore the second time in five weeks that the Maltese voted in favour of their country joining the EU. éIt is the mandate I needed to go to Athens and it honours our country. The 24 others States of the Union will be able to look at our country as a nation that is politically stable and in which they can be confident and invest in", declared Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami as soon as the results were announced. He will be appointed as head of the government once more by the President of the Republic Guido de Marco before whom he will be sworn in; he is also to include new people in the country's governing team. At 69 the Nationalist Party leader who was appointed in 1977 is the major victor in these general elections, the fourth set he has won in 15 years.

For its part the Labour Party admitted defeat. "We respect the choice of the electorate and the party will continue to work for the national interest of the workers", declared its leader Alfred Sant, whose political future might however be threatened. By placing Europe at the centre the electoral debate, the latter finally found himself a prisoner of his own trap. The Maltese did not like the fact that their vote on 8th March had been questioned (when 53.65% of them voted in favour of the island joining the EU). Even though they might have wanted to change the governing team they still preferred to maintain their commitment to Europe.

The first candidate country that vote "yes" to its European membership during a popular referendum is now definitely going to become an official member of the Union on 1st May 2004. Prime Minister Eddie Fenech Adami, who has been fighting since 1990 - the date when Malta's candidature was delivered for his country's integration into the EU - will now see the fruits of his labour. By travelling to the Greek capital on 16th April to sign Malta's membership treaty to the EU the Nationalist leader finally concluded his long and difficult political battle.

General Election Results 12th April 2003:

Participation : 96%

Source: Agence France Presse

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