Maltese vote in general election, seeking to choose new five-year government

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By Euronews  with AP
A man walks past election billboards in Msida on 24 March 2022
A man walks past election billboards in Msida on 24 March 2022   -  Copyright  MATTHEW MIRABELLI/AFP

Voters in Malta headed to the polls Saturday to elect a new Parliament and decide which party will be in government for five years in the Mediterranean island nation.

Voting began at 7 am and ends at 10 pm. Unofficial results are expected on Sunday morning, and final results will be made public by late Sunday or early Monday.

The election will see a few firsts for Malta. While youths aged 16 and 17 have voted in local contests and were allowed to cast ballots in the 2019 European Parliament elections, this will be the first time they can vote in a general election.

It could also be the first time the country will use a gender-balance mechanism to ensure a more equal representation of men and women in Parliament. 

The mechanism kicks in if either gender obtains less than 40% representation.

Finally, the vote marks the first use of electronic vote-counting in a Maltese general election, a method that was used in the 2019 EU Parliament elections.

On Friday, the Electoral Commission said that of the 354,896 registered voters, 14,473 had left their voting documents unclaimed.

There are two major political parties in Malta, the Labour Party and the Nationalist Party. The Labour Party has been in power since 2013. Several much smaller political parties are also on the ballot.

The election campaign was fairly quiet compared to past elections, given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine -- which grabbed the domestic headlines -- and overall political fatigue.