Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has been re-elected in Malta’s snap election and has been sworn in. His Labour Party won 55.2% of the vote, while the rivalling Nationalist Party obtained around 43.6%. This means Labour achieved a lead of some 35,000 votes. In the last general election in 2013, the Labour Party obtained a similarly strong result.
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil congratulated Muscat on the victory and announced his resignation as leader of the Nationalist Party. Supporters of Muscat and the Labour Party gathered on the streets to celebrate the victory. Some 92% of the more than 340,000-strong electorate turned out to vote. Muscat is now moving on to form his government, which will have a five-year mandate.
Arrival of ballot boxes at Naxxar Counting Hall. (DOI, Kevin Abela)
During the election campaign, Muscat promised tax cuts and pension increases, as well as investment in a mass rapid transport system and a €700 million programme to resurface all roads. These were part of a set of proposals devised to ensure that the country’s economic boom continues. In recent years, Malta has recorded strong GDP growth and record-low unemployment.
Elections weren't scheduled until 2018, but Muscat called the snap election in May as political pressure grew on his family and associates. His wife has been accused in one of a series of alleged corruption cases arising from the Panama Papers scandal. Muscat has denied any wrongdoing and has vowed to resign if evidence emerges of his family's having secret offshore bank accounts used for stashing kickbacks. Investigations are still ongoing.