An election is now just 12 days away.  

See what happened on the campaign trail on Monday, the 22nd day of the electoral campaign. 

Read past blogs: Day one | day two | day three | day four | day five | day eight | day nine | day 10 | day 11 | day 12 | day 15  | day 16  | day 17 | day 18 | day 19

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Live blog

What happened today on the campaign trail

8.51pm This live blog will end here.

We'll be back tomorrow for more updates from the 2022 general election campaign. 

Here’s a summary of the day’s key events:

Abela makes some Freeport promises

8.25pm Robert Abela used his Kirkop event to tell people about some changes to Freeport operations that, he says, will reduce disturbances for Birżebbuġa residents. 

Crane operations at the so-called west quay will be moved further away from residents, he said, and the government is also working on a project to minimise the heavy emissions from ships docked there.

Read the full story.

Promises to diabetes patients 

8.02pm Grech reminded attendees of the PN event of the party’s pledge to provide all type 1 diabetes patients with free continuous blood glucose monitors - a pledge the party has been making since before the 2022 budget. The monitors are currently given to patients aged under 16 

Labour has also made a similar pledge in its electoral manifesto.

Read more about the PN promise here.

Poster children 

7.42pm  Politicians love to project an image of being down-to-earth. But do they really need to exploit children to do that? 

Here’s Bernard Grech playing with a toddler as he greeted party supporters at a PN event this evening. 

And here’s Robert Abela going one better, holding a child onstage to present the Labour Party’s electoral manifesto last Friday. 

It's also worth recalling PL candidate Ray Abela posing for photos with children as he hands out VR headsets with his name on them. 

It begs the question: why bother having a Children’s Commissioner if their advice is going to be ignored? 

PN finds the matches 

7.32pm The PN has sorted its electricity problems, and its event is back on.

There's a new live video feed - watch the event in the video below. 

Poetry for the masses

7.22pm Dig out your dog-eared copy of Qawsalla, the anthology of Maltese literature, because Foreign Affairs Minister Evarist Bartolo struck a poetic tone at a Labour political event in Kirkop. 

Bartolo recited parts of Ruzar Briffa’s Jum ir-Rebħ to Labour Party faithful.  

The poem recalls a Maltese crowd at a football match who stood up in defiance and sang out the Maltese national anthem when the organisers played the British anthem to represent colonial Malta.  

This, Bartolo said, had happened on a March day much like today, and was a moment of national pride.  

Another poet, Dun Karm Psaila had written the Maltese national anthem, which Bartolo said was also Labour’s anthem.  

Quoting the anthem, Bartolo recited “Agħti, kbir Alla, saħħa 'l-ħaddiem” (God give strength to workers). This Bartolo said was the Labour Party’s mission and why the working public should vote for it.

Meanwhile, the PN event is still on hold. We're told they're working to get generators up and running. 

Here's a video clip of the moment events took a less illuminating turn. 

PN supporters were hearing about the party's trackless tram plans. Then technical problems kicked in.

Lights out

7.10pm It's a dark evening for the PN - quite literally. It appears their event in Siġġiewi has been impacted by a power cut. 

Lights out at the PN event.Lights out at the PN event.

Robert Abela in Kirkop 

6.53pm Robert Abela will be leading an event in Kirkop tonight. 

Watch it in the video below.

Bernard Grech in Siġġiewi

6.45pm Bernard Grech is greeting PN supporters in Siġġiewi, ahead of a speech he will give there this evening. 

Watch it in the video below. 

Where are the leaders tonight? 

5.50pm Robert Abela will be answering questions at a public event in Kirkop, scheduled to begin at 6.30pm. Bernard Grech will be addressing a PN event in Siġġiewi that begins at that same time. 

We’ll have live video links of both events, once they’re available. 

More freebies, this time for festi 

5.29pm Both the PN and PL manifestos are out and they contain plenty of promises of free things for the electorate - from laptops to cash handouts to bus rides to contraceptives. 

But there's more: the PN is now promising festa organisers that all their permits and licence costs will be paid-for by a PN government. 

What's even stranger is that the proposals do not feature in the party's manifesto. Edwin Vassallo says that's intentional. 

Read more about the PN's festa proposals. 

Celebrating graduation

5.09pm University graduation ceremonies are back following a pandemic-forced hiatus. 

And while the ceremony organisation leaves a lot to be desired, it’s nonetheless a moment of celebration for graduands and their families.

Here’s Labour candidate Deo Debattista celebrating the introduction of another doctor into his family. It’s possibly the most popular social media post by a candidate during this election so far. 

'My house is less illegal than yours'

4.10pm Sanctioning building illegalities: it seems everyone is at it, judging by our eminent leaders. 

Malta Today reported earlier that Robert Abela's villa had huge illegalities sanctioned just before he bought it.

Now the prime minister has retorted by noting that Bernard Grech's own residence had illegalities sanctioned just a few years ago. 

Paying for ESG? 

3.55pm PN spokesperson Peter Agius was asked about this ESG hot potato at a press event this afternoon.

He said that the party would be publishing details about its costings and pledges in the coming days, but ducked a question about how many local businesses are ESG-compliant.

Agius made one interesting comment, though: he implied that the PN would be defining ESG criteria in a different way to the EU standard.  

Volt makes transport suggestions

3.15pm  The Volt political party has issued proposals on transport, calling for:

  • a free night bus schedule
  • bicycle parking stations
  • pedestrianisation of village cores
  • a study into alternative transport such as a metro, tram and a rapid bus transit system.

So who won that ‘debate’? 

2.53pm Robert Abela and Bernard Grech sat side-by-side and traded a few barbs, but the Chamber of SME event was not a debate in the real sense of the word, so it would be a bit unfair to single out a winner. 

Here's our report of the event.

Both protagonists are busy posting clips of themselves at the event on social media. 

Bernard Grech has opted to highlight the PN’s emphasis on incentivising consumers to buy local products.

Robert Abela's clip, on the other hand, is a warning to business owners about the costs the PN's ESG plans would involve. 

He cites a 2021 EU study - you can find it here - which found that it cost businesses across Europe an average of €82,000 a year to adhere to EU ESG reporting rules. Those rules only apply to companies with more than 500 employees. 

Women candidates debate each other

2.28pm BPW Valletta is hosting its fourth and final debate between female electoral candidates. Here's the third debate, in case you missed it.

As with the other debates in the series, the association is giving room to candidates from all parties, large and small. 

Today’s debate features independent candidate Jane Chircop, Labour candidates Fiona Borg Lewis and Alicia Bugeja Said, and Nationalist candidates Graziella Galea and Emma Portelli Bonnici. 

The debate is being held at the MFCC in Ta’ Qali and the public is welcome to attend. So pop over if you happen to be in the area. 

The debate is scheduled to begin at 2.30pm. Watch it in the video below.

What are Abela and Grech pitching to business? 

1.09pm A Q&A involving Robert Abela and Bernard Grech – we can’t call it a debate – is still ongoing. Watch it here. 

Here are some points of what we’ve heard so far:

  • Abela leaned on Labour’s pedigree and implied that the PN just doesn’t have the same calibre politician as it does. “Look at economy, business, finance, security, all relevant topics being discussed internationally right now, and tell me if you see the same calibre of people,” he said. 
  • Grech said the PN had learnt from past mistakes “and will continue to learn”. He made another mention of those “mistakes” later on, saying it was now time for the business community to put those past incidents behind them. 
  • Both leaders referred extensively to their electoral pledges targeting SMEs, from tax breaks to facilitating business banking.  

The event is ongoing and both leaders are now taking questions from the floor.

Round-up of proposals linked to animal welfare

1pm The Office of the Commissioner for Animal Welfare has weighed in on politicians' promises. It warned, however, that no matter what they have promised, parties should ensure enough resources to implement their pledges.

PL has listed 11 promises in its manifesto, however, most of these are not fresh pledges. In fact, some have already been approved by the government and are in the process of implementation.

PN meanwhile has only included three proposals, and the commissioner was disappointed that despite several other proposals by the party before the electoral campaign, only three had made it in the official manifesto.

ADPD, VOLT, ABBA and Partit Populari did not even mention the word 'animal' once.

Cassola meanwhile states in his manifesto that animals are sentient species that need to be treated with respect.

Cassola claims PN, PL veto

12.45pm Cassola has just told newsrooms that he has been excluded from a debate, scheduled for tomorrow, with Minister Roderick Galdes and PN candidate Ivan Castillo on F-Living.

The debate was planned last week, however, he has now been informed by the station's management that he will not feature in the debate.   

"It is shameful that a private TV station is not able to stand up to the blackmail of the PL and the PN, who are scared to debate in an open, public and transparent way with Cassola.

"This episode clearly shows how the two parties dominate everything in our country and impose their bi-party mafia mentality on all sectors of society," he said in a statement, adding that the broadcasting authority was toothless in such matters.

Have you received your voting document yet?


Those who are listed in the electoral register but have not yet received their voting document can drop by at their local police station to collect it as follow:  

  • From this Wednesday till Friday between 8am and 1pm, and between 3pm and 9pm
  • On Saturday between 8am and 10pm
  • On Sunday between 8am and 12pm

It is important to take your ID card with you.

In St Paul’s Bay, voting documents can be collected from the Qawra Police Station.

In Marsascala they can be collected from St Joachim’s Primary School.

In Attard, Vittoriosa, Fontana, Għargħur, Għasri, Iklin, Kalkara, Kirkop, Lija, Mellieħa, Pembroke, Ta’ Xbiex and Xgħajra, documents can be collected from the Local Council Office.

Clyde’s two-hour quest for breakfast

11.15am Finance Minister Clyde Caruana turned up to the Chamber of Commerce's debate 90 minutes late this morning. 

“It took me more than two hours to get here,” the minister said with a smile. 

Long tailbacks were reported this morning as part of the Regional Road in Santa Venera was closed off due to a crash. 

Addressing the chamber, Caruana meanwhile gave a sober assessment of the country’s education system. 

“We need to put more energy into this, not money. Malta invests a lot in this sphere, more than other countries. The return is not comparable to the amount of money being put in.”

He said students need to emerge from the education system with skills, rather than just certificates. 

He also defended Labour’s proposal for mandatory union membership for all workers, arguing that unions help prevent the exploitation of employees.

The finance minister said he does not think Labour’s proposal will result in a 100% worker unionisation rate. Rather, it will facilitate the process for workers who were hesitant to join a union due to potential repercussions from their employers.

But Chamber of Commerce president Marisa Xuereb hit back at the proposal, saying proper enforcement of current employment laws would help crackdown on such exploitation, rather than turning to mandatory union membership.

Second leaders' Q&A event

11am Abela and Grech are going to participate in a second question-and-answer event during this electoral campaign.  

Organised by the Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises, it is expected to kick off soon.

You can watch live here:

How do electoral pledges impact LGBTIQ community?

10.45am The Malta Gay Rights Movement has flagged proposals made by politicians that will directly impact the LGBTIQ community. 

The NGO makes one disclaimer though: it has left out parties whose mission fundamentally differs from that of MGRM's. 

These are some of the proposals that went down well with MGRM. Read more here:

  • Recognition of diversity in policy and services, including prevention of violence and discrimination (ADPD)
  • LGBTIQ community centre that centralises services by government and civil society (PL)
  • Replacement of current one-year deferral ban for MSM with non-discriminatory parameters (PL, ADPD)
  • Free gender confirmation surgeries (PN, PL, VOLT)
  • Commissioned research to address challenges encountered by elderly LGBTIQ people (PN)
  • Increase investment in Gender Wellbeing Clinic, relocate to a more central place (ADPD, VOLT)
  • Allow non-binary people to change their name (ADPD)
  • Enable reunification of LGBTIQ migrants whose relationship is not recognised in country of origin (ADPD, VOLT)

Ian Borg will be missing in action 

10am Ian Borg this morning informed his electorate he will be missing in action later on this week, as he heads to London to treat a "rare knee condition".

The PL MP, deemed as one of the most admired and resented ministers of our time, said he will in the meantime continue launching infrastructural projects in the coming days.

Among his well-wishers, Valletta Cultural Agency chair Jason Micallef described him as a "main pillar of government cabinets since 2013".

First debate of the day kicks off

9.35am The Malta Chamber debate - the second of its kind - has kicked off. You can watch live here:

More debates

9.30am There's at least three scheduled debates for today: one organised by the Malta Chamber of Commerce; a separate one by the Chamber of SMEs and a third one, themed More voices which will include the participation of ABBA, ADPD, Partit Popolari and Volt Malta.

Are you stuck in traffic? Get up to speed about the campaign

9.15am If, like several commuters you are stuck in traffic, you might want to listen to our journalist Mark Lawrence Zammit as he walks us through last week's events linked to the electoral campaign.

From a rowdy university debate, to promises of free contraceptives and tampons, listen to the short clip here.

What's on today?

9am Good morning and welcome to our live blog on the 22nd day of the electoral campaign.

This morning, at around 10am, independent candidate Arnold Cassola is meeting Mcast students at the Mosta campus. Later in the evening, at around 9pm, he is expected to participate in the Smash TV programme Jien nistaqsi.

Also this evening, at around 6pm PN leader Bernard Grech is scheduled to address party supporters in Pjazza San Nikola, Siġġiewi.

Soon after, at 6.30pm, PL leader Robert Abela should be participating in Triq id-9 t'April 1942, in Kirkop.

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