Updated 7.55 p.m. - Adds PN statement

Turnout for the first elections for administrative committees in seven localities, held today, was a low 35%. The PN said it won 63% of the vote and the PL won 34%. Independent candidates won just three per cent. The PL said it won a majority of votes in two of the seven elections but it did not have enough candidates to form a majority of seats.

Turnout was 37% in Bubaqra, 48% in Fleur-de-Lys, 37% in Kappara, 25% in Paceville, 37% in Madliena, 29% in Marsalforn and 22% in Xlendi.

The administrative committees will take over responsibility for the running of the hamlets from their local councils.

Each hamlet will have a committee of five.

A total of 53 candidates took part, including 10 candidates from the Labour Party and 36 from the PN.

The PN said it won 63% of the vote and the PL won 34%. Independent candidates won just three per cent.

The Nationalist Party thanked all those who stood for election or turned out to vote and said that today's was a victory for the hamlets where the elections took place. It said this was also an exercise of the principle of subsidiarity, which had led the PN in government to set up local councils in 1992. The party said 25 of its candidates were elected, along with nine PL candidates and six independents.

No election was held at Sta Lucija, Gozo, since the number of candidates equals the number of seats. All the candidates there are independent.

The Labour Party in a statement said that nine of its 10 candidates were elected and it won enough votes to win another four seats, had it had more candidates.

The party said that six of the seven localities where the elections were held were Nationalist strongholds. The PL, however, won a majority of votes (but did not have enough candidates for a majority of seats) in Xlendi, even though it was within the confines of PN-led Munxar council. The PL also won a majority of votes (but, again, not a majority of seats) at Bubaqra, Zurrieq.

The PL said it also managed to have its candidates elected at the PN strongholds of Fleur-de-Lys, Kappara and Madliena.

The electoral process was an informal one. The 8,200 persons who were eligible to vote were not been issued a voting document and used their ID cards instead. The police did not close off the immediate area around the polling stations.

At Fleur-de-Lys people watching proceedings said there had been a heavy turnout in the early morning but that later tapered off.

The new committees will be allocated a portion of the budget of their respective local councils, calculated mostly on the basis of the population of their hamlets. They will be able to take all decisions related to their hamlets and may apply for special funds from the government and the EU.

Elections for another six hamlets will be held later in the year.

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