Known as the Cottonera district, this region of the island incorporates the three cities of Vittoriosa, Cospicua and Senglea as well as neighbouring Kalkara, Żabbar and Fgura.
This is the deepest red of the 13 districts, a traditional Labour fortress behind the weathered bastions of the three cities.
Labour expects to elect four candidates from District 2, leaving the PN with just one.
In 2017, Labour claimed 17,353 votes here, accounting for a massive 71 per cent of the district’s votes. The PN snatched just 6,761 votes, or 28 per cent, their lowest percentage from all districts.
Insiders predict a repeat of the last election result is on the cards here, with party surveys not indicating major shifts.
In 2017, the lead candidate for the PL was Joseph Muscat who was then followed by Helena Dalli, Glenn Bedingfield, Joe Mizzi and Chris Agius. The Nationalists elected Stephen Spiteri.
What to look out for
Like his predecessor, Robert Abela is contesting this district in the hope of receiving a massive number of first count votes to assert his dominance.
Although he is prime minister, Abela is seeking his first mandate from the electorate so he will want to be elected on the highest number of votes among any Labour candidate.
Abela is joined on the ballot paper by ministers Byron Camilleri, Carmelo Abela and Clyde Caruana, among others.
Caruana is running what sources have described as an “unconventional” race, conducting minimal on-the-ground campaigning.
However, as finance minister, his position as one of the most senior members of cabinet lends him an air of gravitas which may help him on the ballot sheet.
Sources say that he polls favourably in Żabbar.
Bedingfield, the government whip, is a big name on the candidates’ list.
His days on the Labour Party’s ONE media and his constant lobbying for his constituency both in and out of parliament are not to be underestimated.
He has also capitalised on the popularity among Labour diehards of Muscat, by wheeling him out on the campaign trail for an endorsement.
Agius, known as il-Wefi, is said to be particularly popular in Cospicua where he has an electoral office right on the water’s edge, a stone’s throw from a bronze statue of Labour titan Dom Mintoff.
Mizzi. a former minister, was left out of cabinet by Abela but will be hoping he can count on voters in his hometown of Kalkara.
Political observers are also keeping a close eye on the candidature of Alison Zerafa Civelli, the prime minister’s sister-in-law, a popular candidate in the three cities and the current mayor of Cospicua.
Sitting MP Oliver Scicluna is also contesting this district.
He was handpicked for parliament in a co-option earlier this legislature but had touched many lives during his time as chairman of the national disability commission.
The PN, meanwhile, are expected to only manage to elect one candidate from the second district.
Nationalist insiders say the favourite is Spiteri, a popular family doctor.
The general practitioner enjoys popularity among PN voters in the district and has no major established names running against him.
Constituents’ main issues
According to surveys by the parties, voters from the second district are among the most likely to say they are not really bothered with anything.
The leading concern is parking, followed by the general upkeep of the district, which is followed closely by other issues like the state of the roads and traffic congestion.
A closer look at the district, broken down by locality, shows there’s a bit more nuance.
Voters from the idyllic Vittoriosa seem most content, with around two-thirds saying they are not too bothered by anything.
It comes as no surprise that people from this largely pedestrianised locality are preoccupied with parking.
As for Cospicua voters, the state of their neighbourhood and general upkeep of the locality is their leading concern.
As in Vittoriosa, Senglea residents are mostly irritated by the lack of available parking.
Outside of the three cities, congestion, traffic, development and parking all feature as concerns in Fgura.
In Xagħjra, voters are concerned with public cleansing most while, in Żabbar, it is the state of their roads that weighs most on voters’ minds.
Edward Cassar Delia
Amanda Spiteri Grech
Alison Zerafa Civelli
Jesrit Angel Camilleri