Updated 5pm with temporary turnout figures

The leaders of the two main parties have cast their votes as Malta chooses its next government for the next five years.

Until 2pm, just 40% of those eligible had cast their vote, a remarkable 12 percentage points down when compared to the same time period in 2017.

Robert Abela and his wife Lydia cast theirs at St Anne Primary School in Marsascala at around 9.20am. The Prime Minister did not give any comments to the media.

Robert Abela and his wife Lydia casting their vote.Robert Abela and his wife Lydia casting their vote.

PN leader Bernard Grech and his wife Annemarie cast their votes at the secondary school in Mosta around an hour later. 

Following his vote, Grech thanked those participating in the electoral process.

Video: Giulia Magri

"I would like to thank whoever is participating in this democratic process. God willing, everyone will do their part and shoulder their various responsibilities so that we will have a fair election.

"People deserve to have their mind at rest about a fair election and we need to avoid unfortunate episodes like the one we had at the prisons last week. It is important to have a fair election that allows people the serenity to choose the next administration," he said.

Grech urged those who wanted a change to go out and vote. It was useless to protest and complain over having no voice and then failing to go out to vote, he added.

The Grechs toured some party social clubs, including those of Sliema, Birkirkara and Għargħur, before heading to Mosta. 

The PN leader continued to tour Malta and Gozo throughout the day, criss-crossing the island from Sannat in Gozo to Żurrieq in southern Malta. 

Abela was less visible throughout the day and as of 5.30pm had made no public appearances after voting in the morning. 

President George Vella and his wife Miriam cast their vote at the Żejtun secondary school at around 11am. 

President George Vella and Miriam casting their vote in Żejtun. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

President George Vella and Miriam casting their vote in Żejtun. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Bernard and Annemarie Grech with their two children. Photo: Giulia Magri

Bernard and Annemarie Grech with their two children. Photo: Giulia Magri

Lydia Abela casting her vote. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Lydia Abela casting her vote. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Polls show the Labour Party heading towards another landslide victory.

Several election candidates and their canvassers are hovering around polling stations, hoping to convince voters to cast their preference for them. Several people, especially the elderly, received phonecalls from party agents on Saturday urging them to go out to vote and offering assistance to do so. 

In Siġġiewi, Labour MP Roderick Galdes was seen serving coffee from a house in a street close to the polling station, while several supporters of Silvio Schembri were seen close to the school, wearing large team tags in support of the minister.

Schembri's canvassers were also spotted in Żebbuġ.

And according to media reports, voting in Żurrieq was delayed because a banner promoting PL candidate Joe Sammut, hung on a building within 50 metres from a polling station, had to be pulled down by the Civil Protection Department. 

Marlene Farrugia, who is not contesting this election, warned her social media followers that today they will be choosing between whether they wanted to start cleaning up their country, or approve of the destruction that has taken place and give the go-ahead for further damage. 

Among those who went out to vote, president emeritus and former PN prime minister Eddie Fenech Adami cast his vote in Birkirkara. 

Alfred Sant, another former prime minister and now PL MEP recalled past elections.

Noting that he failed to cast his vote in the first two elections he could participate in, as he was abroad, Sant on Saturday morning recalled he first went out to vote in 1981 when PL was elected to power with a majority of seats but a minority of votes. 

The party had however lost the following election - in 1987 - with more than 4,000 votes.

Meanwhile, young candidate Eve Borg Bonello, who on Thursday was rushed to hospital from a PN rally after collapsing in pain, is back on her feet in districts nine and ten.

"Back in action, thank you for the concern. After a prescribed day of resting and awaiting some more tests, we're back in campaign mode and ready to work till the last second, till the polling stations are closed," she told her Facebook followers.

Another party official who was taken ill during this electoral campaign - PN spokesperson Peter Agius - posted a photo from hospital.

He urged people to go vote and make their voice heard.

Cassola publishes expenses, donations

Arnold Cassola, an independent candidate on the 10th and 11th districts, has published a list of his expenses and donations during this electoral campaign.

He has also uploaded scans and photos of his receipts.

The highest expense was that linked to the posting of flyers (€1,011), while at the bottom of the expenses list, drinks at the launch of his campaign cost €32.

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