The counting hall will be restricted to those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Chief Electoral Commissioner Joseph Camilleri said.

Camilleri said this was agreed following discussions with the two main political parties. Representatives at election booths and in the counting hall will be vaccinated against the virus and possess an updated vaccination certificate.

Times of Malta first reported on plans to restrict access to the counting hall late last year.

Agreement on the vaccination requirement drew objections from newly-formed political party ABBA, which insisted in a judicial protest that the Electoral Commission had no authority to impose such a restriction.

It said the measure discriminated against the unvaccinated, some of whom did not take the jab for medical reasons, and who will not be allowed to participate in the electoral process.

ABBA argued that, according to the General Elections Act, political parties have the right to nominate the agents to represent them during the electoral process. Candidates should also have access to the counting hall at all times, he said. 

While calling on Camilleri to publicly withdraw this “unlawful and preferential measure”, Grech Mintoff warned of further legal action in default.

Other electoral arrangements

During an interview on national broadcaster TVM, the electoral commissioner also said that many decisions will be taken according to the prevailing situation when the general election is announced.

As revealed by Times of Malta, Camilleri confirmed that arrangements are under way for drive-in voting centres for persons who are positive to COVID-19 or are in mandatory quarantine. This was possible following the approval by parliament of legal amendments in the electoral law so that everyone is given the right to vote.

Voters who do not drive or do not have means of transport will be provided with transport by the Electoral Commission.

There will be no changes for other voters in the voting process that will be held in schools, in full adherence to COVID-19 measures in place at the time.

The government has yet to announce an election date. 

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