Arnold Cassola has missed out on a seat in the European Parliament, despite coming in third in first-preference votes cast on Saturday.  

The independent candidate spent most of Sunday in third place during vote-counting, behind only PN stalwart Roberta Metsola and her Labour counterpart Alex Agius Saliba.

Cassola received 12,706 first-preference votes. 

The story changed however once votes from these heavyweights as well as eliminated candidates were re-distributed.

David Casa won most of Metsola's second preference votes, and with the PN having assured itself of its third seat, there was a tussle for votes between Peter Agius and David Agius, with projections showing the former as the favourite. 

Cassola also narrowly missed out on a seat in Brussels in the first MEP elections in 2004. Standing on the AD ticket, he had garnered 23,000 first-count votes, eventually falling just short of election, despite receiving three times as many first count votes as the PN’s David Casa and almost 8,000 more than PL’s Louis Grech, both of whom were eventually elected.

He resigned from AD in 2019 and as an independent candidate this time, he  positioned himself as an alternative choice to the “PLPN duopoly”.

His political programme was based on the right to a clean environment, to clean politics, to a fair and caring society and to a future of hope for Maltese youth.

Cassola campaigned for Malta to join the European Union in 2004, both in Malta and at the European Parliament when, at that time, he was the general secretary of the European Green Party.

In the days leading up to Saturday’s vote, Cassola hit out at PN leader Bernard Grech and other PN candidates, who had warned that a vote for an independent candidate would only strengthen the Labour Party.

“A vote for Arnold Cassola is a vote for Arnold Cassola, not a vote for Robert Abela. These tactics were used 25 years ago, and it exposes the PN’s fear at the rise of independents in the polls.”

He said that PL exponents have started using this same tactic, warning supporters that “Cassola is aligned with PN”.

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