Day five of the electoral campaign was, again, relatively quiet, with the headlines dominated by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the killing of dozens of people.

Here's a round-up of events:

  • Bernard Grech promised farmers that a PN government would protect Maltese products and pledged a return of village feasts 'with a bang'.
  • Both ADPD and the PN urged the Maltese government to stop selling citizenship to Russian nationals.
  • Robert Abela pledged to raise student stipends by 15 per cent.
  • Arnold Cassola set up a single billboard highlighting his campaign on Tal-Balal Road, off Għargħur.
  • An official Vatican programme laid to rest speculation about the Pope's visit being postponed.

Read the live blogs from: day one | day two | day three | day four

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As it happened:

9pm Live blog ends. That's all from us today. We'll be back on Monday to give you more 2022 election updates, as they happen. Thank you for having joined us. 

Bernard Grech promises the return of feasts 'with a bang'

8.05pm: In Mellieħa Bernard Grech promised village feasts will return with a bang if the PN is elected to the government. 

The PN leader questioned why children were still wearing masks at school and cultural events had to follow strict restrictions before promising a return to pre-COVID celebrations.

Before talking about partisan matters, Grech asked those present to join him in applause in support of Ukrainian people who are being killed in their own country by Russian troops.

Abela promises another rise in the student stipend

8pm:  Speaking in Żebbuġ this evening, Robert Abela has given young voters something to consider: he has pledged to raise student stipends by 15 per cent.

The government had already promised to raise the stipend by 10 per cent when it presented the budget for this year. But this is election season of course...

Abela also pledged that the government will keep energy prices stable, "no matter what" and that he was giving the same commitment on the price of cereals and wheat, since Ukraine was one of the main exporters of these products, by continuing to protect people from any price increases.

Early voting for those who will be abroad until March 18

6.30pm: Voters who will be abroad until March 18, and are unable to vote on March 26 as they will be in hospital or out of the country, can draw up a sworn declaration and vote on March 19.

This sworn application can be registered at an embassy or high commission and the oath needs to be taken before a commissioner.

A scanned copy of the sworn declaration must be sent on by not later than noon on March 18. 

Nominations will open next week

5.30pm: Those who want to contest the election can apply to do so between March 2 and 6 from 9am to 1pm and 3pm to 7pm.

Candidates can submit their applications online or in person at the electoral office in Naxxar.  

And if anyone wants to dispute someone's nomination, they can also drop by at the office to file their objection. They have from March 2 to 7 to do so.

Are you a registered voter?

5pm: The Electoral Commission is urging those whose names did not appear in a voters' register published today in the government gazette, to get in touch before March 12.

This also applies to those whose particulars are appearing incorrect. If they do not, they will not be able to vote on March 26.

If you want to check whether you are registered as a voter click here.

Pope's visit official programme published

3pm: An official programme released by the Vatican has laid to rest speculation about the Pope's visit being postponed so as not to clash with general election celebrations. 

Pope Francis is set to spend two packed days in Malta on April 2 and 3.

Read more about his visit here.

Stop IIP applications to Russians, Grech tells PM

12.55pm During an interview on NET, Bernard Grech appealed to Prime Minister Robert Abela to immediately stop IIP applications from Russians because the country cannot continue endangering its security.

At the same time, it would be sending a message that we are standing behind Ukraine. 

He also said the corporate tax reduction as proposed by the Labour Party is “unworkable”.

Read the report here. 

PN pledges to protect local produce

11.30am PN leader Bernard Grech met farmers in Mġarr and promised that a new Nationalist government will protect Maltese products.

He pledged a new agency for the promotion of Maltese products, intensive educational programmes to attract young farmers and growers, and support to farmers by sustaining the local market and reducing bureaucracy.

Bernard Grech meeting the farming community.Bernard Grech meeting the farming community.

Grech interviewed

11.10am The first political activity of the day will come from the PN. Leader Bernard Grech will be interviewed on his party political channels at noon. 

'No profit from Putin'

10.40am ADPD weighs in on the Ukraine crisis, and urges the Maltese government to stop selling citizenship to Russian nationals.

Cassola hits the road with one billboard

9.30am Independent candidate Arnold Cassola has set up an electronic billboard highlighting his campaign on Tal-Balal road, in the vicinity of Għargħur.

He said he is limiting his information campaign to this one electronic billboard and three or four other banners, which will be set up in the course of the campaign.

Good morning

9am  We're on day five of the campaign, after a relatively quiet day of campaigning. Prime Minister Robert Abela had to go to an emergency EU summit in Brussels to discuss the Ukraine crisis, with deputy leader Chris Fearne addressing the evening campaign event.

The highlight from Thursday's events was the approval of the PN's electoral manifesto, which came with 540 pledges.


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