It was a red letter day for female politicians yesterday as Malta went from having no women in the European Parliament to three.
The casual elections saw Marlene Mizzi, Roberta Metsola and Claudette Abela Baldacchino clinching the coveted seats in Brussels.
They will replace Deputy Prime Minister Louis Grech, Finance Minister Edward Scicluna and outgoing Nationalist Party Deputy Leader Simon Busuttil, who were all elected to the Maltese Parliament in the March 9 general election.
The new MEPs will serve for little over a year before fresh Euro parliamentary elections take place in May or June next year.
Ms Mizzi was the first to be elected, with 24,000 votes, taking Professor Scicluna’s seat. In her first comments to journalists, she said she looked forward to starting her work at the European Parliament in the national interest.
“I cannot do miracles but I will certainly do my utmost to achieve all I can for our country,” she said, adding that she was determined to leave her mark as the first female MEP.
Dr Metsola née Tedesco Triccas, a lawyer specialising in European Law, was the next to win a seat. She was elected on the PN ticket following a neck-and-neck race with Rudolph Cini, the former president of the union of midwives and nurses.
Her initial tally was 13,200 votes but she then managed to reach the official 20,661 quota following the elimination of environmentalist Alan Deidun and business lobbyist Vince Farrugia. The 2009 MEP election was the second she has contested, following her unsuccessful bid in 2004. She told journalists that she was flying to Brussels today – where she already lives with her husband and three children – to see which European Parliament committees she could participate in.
Dr Metsola also vowed to work in the national interest, saying she would like to focus on issues such as migration, safety at work, European rights and the economy.
The third seat, vacated by Mr Grech, was fought by several candidates and eventually went to Ms Abela Baldacchino after reaching the 22,000 vote quota.
She told journalists that she would work in line with what she had promised prior to the 2009 election: creating a social Europe.
Asked whether her election as an MEP was embarrassing for Malta in view of the pending criminal fraud case she is facing, she refused to comment stating that the case was sub-judice.
Last year Ms Abela Baldacchino was charged for defrauding the European Commission while serving as a Labour representative on the executive committee of the Local Councils’ Association. She is denying the charges.
PN leadership contenders Simon Busuttil, Raymond Bugeja and Mario de Marco were among those who visited the counting hall to wish candidates well.
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