The Labour Party won the European Parliament elections by a landslide, garnering 57 percent of the first count votes to the PN’s 40 percent.

The scale of the victory was announced by PN General Secretary Pual Borg Olivier in a brief announcement at Naxxar counting hall after PL leader Joseph Muscat a few moments earlier told television that the PL had won an absolute majority.

The figures were based on early samples taken as the sorting of votes started, and some sources said the Labour victory, while big, may be closer to 55%. The difference is between 33,000 and 35,000 votes.

The announcements saw hundreds of Labour Party supporters pour into the streets, many of them forming carcades to Labour Party headquarters in Hamrun. There, a street party is underway, with people hugging and congratulating each other while waving PL flags.

VICTORY ON MUSCAT'S LEADERSHIP ANNIVERSARY

The Labour victory comes exactly a year after Joseph Muscat took the helm of the party.

Speaking on One TV, Dr Muscat said this was not the victory of a party, but of a movement which the PL had forged, grouping labourites and other people who up to some time ago were not in the PL fold.

"This result is not the point of arrival but the point of departure for this movement, and we will work harder because we have a lot to do," Dr Muscat said.

This Dr Muscat said, was a message that the Gonzi government was crumbling and the PL had to offer its alternatives.

When the European Parliament elections were first held in Malta in 2004, the PL had won 48.42 percent of the vote, compared to 39.76 for the Nationalist Party.

The indications of the results also show a collapse in support for Alternattiva Demokratika, which is expected to get half less than 3% of the vote, compared to 9% in 2004.

TONIO BORG REACTION

PN deputy leader Tonio Borg said this afternoon that the outcome of the European Parliament elections was a disappointment for the Nationalist Party.

He said this result was a message which one would be foolish to ignore, but he could not, at this stage discuss what the message was.

Speaking in Naxxar counting hall, Dr Borg said the PN was retaining its two seats in the European Parliament.

He said the government was elected on a five-year programme and was just one year into that programme. It would continue its programme while it would analyse this result.

Arnold Cassola, chairman of Alternattiva Demokratika said the AD result was unexpected and the party would discuss its future after the full results were known.

The EP elections were held yesterday, with turnout almost 79 percent compared to 82.4 percent five years ago.

SIMON BUSUTTIL, LOUIS GRECH LEAD

The sorting of votes according to voter preferences started at Naxxar counting centre at 12.45, and the political parties started calculating the outcome of the election on the basis of samples from ballot boxes in different localities.

The actual first count results are not expected to start trickling in until late this evening and the process is expected to continue well into tomorrow, with a record 34 candidates having contested the election.

Initial indications show PN candidate Simon Busuttil well ahead of the other candidates in the allocation of votes. He is followed by David Casa and Roberta Metsola Tedesco Triccas among the PN candidates.

Among the Labour candidates, Louis Grech appears ahead, followed by Edward Scicluna, with Marlene Mizzi and Joseph Cuschieri appearing neck and neck.

Five candidates will be declared elected. The candidate who comes closest to election but fails will be assigned the sixth seat in the European Parliament once it is allocated to Malta in terms of the Lisbon Treaty.

The votes cast yesterday for local elections in 23 localities will be counted next weekend.

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