The results of Malta's fourth European elections were rolled out on Sunday. This is Times of Malta's live blog for the latest news, analysis, results and reactions. 

6.05pm The print edition of Tuesday's Times of Malta will have a detailed analysis of the MEP election outcome, a snapshot of the new representatives... as well as the latest updates from the Nationalist Party camp. 

5.45pm Re-elected MEP David Casa sent his critics a clear message on Monday morning by paying his respects to Daphne Caruana Galizia and stating: "I will not be silenced."

Mr Casa was in the firing line of government and Labour Party exponents who criticised him for repeatedly seeking overseas help to fight issues of rule of law in Malta.

 

5.10pm A day is a long time in politics. Less than 24 hours after celebrating a big win in European elections, Austria's 32-year-old chancellor Sebastian Kurz is out.

He and his cabinet have been ousted by a no-confidence motion, following a corruption scandal that's been dubbed 'Ibiza-gate'.

5pm "Together with Dr Delia and his closest ‘aides’, the party’s highest organs, not least the parliamentary group, also need to be held accountable. They allowed an evidently rotten situation to deteriorate because they did not want to stand up and be counted." 

That's from today's Times of Malta print editorial. Read it in full here.

4.42pm Gozo Minister Justyne Caruana is delighted that fellow Gozitan Josianne Cutajar has secured an EP seat. 

"For the first time, Gozo will have a Gozitan voice in the European Parliament," she said in a statement. 

4.20pm Independent candidate Arnold Cassola is unhappy with the 100,000-odd people who chose not to vote - "no complaining," he tells them.

He also reckons "racism is alive and well in Malta", pointing to the 8,000 votes for Norman Lowell, and is irked by "the media" lumping independent candidates together with Mr Lowell under the category 'others'. 

"8166 Maltese voters have voted clearly for Norman Lowell's nazi inspired party," he writes.

"Please acknowledge this reality and call it by its name. Arnold Cassola's 2127 votes have nothing to do with these 8166. We stand for the opposite."

With that in mind, here's a breakdown of how Malta voted, with the various minor candidates all cited individually. 

 

4pm We have an article up about those murmurs of discontent coming from PN stalwart Alex Perici Calascione and pollster Lawrence Zammit. 

Read it here.

3.30pm After the MEP result, we would like to know whether you think there should be a change at the helm of the PN.

We have a Facebook poll: 

And a poll on our home page:

3pm Another voice of dissent... Misco director Lawrence Zammit, who was closely associated with former Nationalist administrations, has told Newsbook that Adrian Delia should resign given the scale of defeat at the polls. 

2.52pm Alex Perici Calascione, who contested the PN leadership in a race which Adrian Delia ultimately won, has added to the rumblings of discontent.

"This is the worst electoral result in the PN's history," he wrote. 

"The bigger the electoral gap, the stronger the people's message and the more urgent the need to react to it. Nobody is bigger than the party," he wrote. 

"I am ready to play a part," he added somewhat cryptically. 

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the party's "it could have been worse" post-electoral reaction.

Read Dr Perici Calascione's post in full.

2.49pm We've had a chat with Dr Farrugia, who delved into the reasons behind his departure in some more detail

2.27pm Democratic Party leader Godfrey Farrugia is stepping down.

Dr Farrugia says he and the rest of the party's executive committee will resign en masse as the party analyses its electoral performance.

The PD got 2.3 per cent of the vote. More than half of the party's 5,276 votes were won by its activist-candidate Camilla Appelgren. 

Read more about the PD leader's decision.

2.20pm PN leader Adrian Delia has pledged to make his party more inclusive and appealing.

In a Facebook post, Dr Delia thanked all candidates, elected MEPs and supporters. He took comfort in the fact that the 42,656-vote deficit was better than the initial 72,500-vote defeat forecast by some surveys months ago. 

But he said: "This result is not what we worked for or hoped to achieve."

2.05pm Godfrey Farrugia has confirmed he will resign as leader of the Democratic Party once the local council results are out this week. Story coming up shortly.

12.50pm Malta's registered voter base increased by around 20,000 between each European election - until this one, which saw it rise by closer to 30,000. Another interesting thing to note is the sudden increase in the share of invalid votes. It hovered at around 2 per cent for three successive elections, but was 3.6 per cent for this election.

12.45pm Writing in today's Talking Point on Times of Malta, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne gives an overview of the European election results.

He says that like his two predecessors, Adrian Delia will be "arrogantly oblivious" to the fact that the era of political parties owning votes, let alone voters, has been steadily ebbing away.

Chris Fearne (left) with Joseph Muscat on the party balcony on Sunday.Chris Fearne (left) with Joseph Muscat on the party balcony on Sunday.

12.15pm One year ago, a British-Somali activist who moved to the UK as a refugee became mayor of Sheffield. 

Now, he has been elected an MEP. Congratulations, Magid Magid. 

11.40am The leader of the so-called Moviment Patrijotti Maltin has resigned after the anti-migrants' group poor performance in the MEP elections. 

Henry Battistino said he was assuming political responsibility and was therefore stepping down with immediate effect. The MPM's two candidates obtained less than 800 first-count votes between them.

11.05am Amid the internal disgruntlement in the Nationalist Party, the odd public figure is making a statement challenging the status quo. This Facebook post by MP Jason Azzopardi elevates David Casa's electoral success and takes a subtle dig at the party's performance... or is it?

10.18am A look at voting results across EU member states shows that no other party across the 28 member states managed to get the 54.3 per cent Muscat's Labour Party achieved. 

The closest was Viktor Orbán's Fidesz, which got just over 52 per cent, followed by Poland's Law and Justice party, which polled 43 per cent. 

10am Many celebrated when Joseph Muscat announced that the gap between the PL and PN was expected to exceed the 50,000 mark. But perhaps none as much as those who had bet money on the result.

Sources involved in the black market gambling sector tell us bookmakers were accepting wagers on the result being on either side of 50,000 votes in favour of the Labour Party.

“Just imagine how people jumped when they heard the margin was 55,000, only to be disappointed to later hear they hadn’t won a cent,” a source said.

Bookies were reportedly accepting bets of around €5,000 and upwards on predictions for the result.

9.50am Miriam Dalli has issued a statement thanking the 63,438 people who voted for her.  

"It is not our size that matters but our attitude, our will and the trust in ourselves as one nation," she said.

9.20am Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi does not mince his words and relishes the re-election of David Casa and Roberta Metsola to the European Parliament.

9.10am Roberta Metsola thanks voters for the overwhelming support.

8.50am Good to see that women lead the voting for three partes - Miriam Dalli for Labour, Roberta Metsola for the Nationalists, and Camilla Appelgren for the Democratic Party. 

Read about their performance here. 

8.22am The final vote counts also show that Labour's final margin of victory was of 42,656 votes. That's much closer to the initial projection than the 50,000+ figure touted later during the day. 

In percentage terms, the PL got 54.3 per cent while the PN received 37.9. 

That means the PL gained another 7,300 votes over the main opposition party in two years.

 

7.42am Vote tallies for Malta's election have been published. There's plenty to dissect. 

Far-right candidates got fewer votes than initially feared, while female candidates completely outperformed their male counterparts not just in the two main parties (Miriam Dalli and Roberta Metsola, both elected) but also in the Democratic Party: Camilla Appelgren got almost double as many votes as her party leader, Godfrey Farrugia.  

7.20pm The good news is that the far-right failed to make gains in many member states, such as Germany or Denmark. The bad news is that they remain a major political force in others, such as France or Italy. 

Read more about how the election played out in different member states. 

7am The hunting and trapping lobby has wasted no time in reacting. 

They've issued a statement congratulating Malta's six MEPs and noting that "the majority" of them were in favour of hunting and trapping "and promised to defend these rights in Brussels". 

This was a clear message to the government, the FKNK said.

6.52am European Parliament elections were also held in all other member states. Overall, it was a good night for the Liberals and Greens,  who gained seats, and a rough ride for the two traditional powerhouses, the EPP and S&D. 

At this stage, the race to become the next European Commission president is wide open. It might well be ALDE's Margrethe Vestager

Here's what the next European Parliament likely to look like.

6.45am Good morning. It was a busy night for vote counters across Europe. 

In Malta, the Electoral Commission has confirmed predictions about who would be the six MEPs elected: Roberta Metsola (PN), Alfred Sant (PL), David Casa (PN), Alex Agius Saliba (PL) and Josianne Cutajar (PL) join Miriam Dalli (PL) with seats. 

Read about that here.

11.20pm That's all from us for tonight. Thank you for joining us for this live blog - we will be back with more news from the 2019 election tomorrow morning. 

Tuned in late and looking for a summary of the day's events? 

11.15pm Miriam Dalli is the first MEP to be elected.  

Here's the moment she heard the news: 

Miriam Dalli is told she's been elected. Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

11pm After 17 hours, we're calling it a night for our live blog. Official results are expected some time during the night so log on to Times of Malta tomorrow morning for the latest updates and analysis from Malta and across the EU. 

The print version of Times of Malta will wrap up Sunday's events.

In a nutshell, the Labour Party scored the biggest ever electoral victory in Malta's history and stands to win back four of the six MEP seats. It appears the rest of Europe saw a surge in support for Green parties with right-wing parties making inroads, but not as strong as predicted. 

10.45pm Miriam Dalli is the first to be elected on the PL ticket.

Unofficial votes for the top six candidates are the following: Miriam Dalli: 51,000; Roberta Metsola: 31,000; Alfred Sant: 21,000; David Casa: 16,000; Alex Agius Saliba: 15,000; and Josianne Cutajar: 12900.

10.30pm More news from elections across the EU

In Poland, the ruling conservative party is likely to pip a pro-EU coalition to the post. 

In Romania, the opposite is true: the ruling conservative party has been battered.

In the UK, Tories are talking about a catastrophic result, while the Liberal Democrats are sounding very positive. 

9.50pm PN MEP candidate Peter Agius has also thrown in the towel.

9.26pm It might be hours before we have official data, but there are indications of who Malta's six MEPs will be: Miriam Dalli, Alfred Sant, Josianne Cutajar and Alex Agius Saliba are likely to secure seats for the PL, with Roberta Metsola and David Casa on track to keep their seats for the PN. 

9.18pm Sources in the counting hall say that it could be as late as 3am when official results are out. 

9pm The European Parliament's first projections have the  European People's Party group first on 173 seats, with the centre-left Socialists and Democrats on 147 seats.

Here's a brief summary of what's happening in some member states: 

France: Marine Le Pen's party has beaten Emmanuel Macron's En Marche. 

Denmark: The far-right is expected to lose half its seats.

Greece: The centre-right is reportedly beating Alexis Tsipras' governing radical left party, Syriza.

Spain: The Popular Party is likely to be the biggest loser, with gains for the centre-right Citizens party and the Socialists. 

Austria: Sebastian Kurz's governing party is on track to come first and increase its share of the vote. The far-right party is likely to maintain its share of the vote. 

8.42am Our eyes and ears inside the Naxxar counting hall are saying that it's likely Norman Lowell got significantly fewer votes than the 15,000 announced elsewhere. 

Our indication is that the 3.2 per cent figure cited previously is correct, but that will translate to fewer votes in total.  

8.18pm Meanwhile, good news from Brussels: it looks like voter turnout in the EU as a whole is up compared to last election. 

"Preliminary turnout figures for the whole EU are the highest in at least the last 20 years. Currently at 51 per cent EU-wide and may rise to 52 per cent," a European Parliament spokesperson said. In 2014, average turnout was 42.61 per cent. 

Puts Malta's 72.6 per cent into perspective.  

8.15pm With the vast majority of votes sorted, we have a better idea of the actual percentages the major parties obtained. Here's what it's looking like right now - remember these are still provisional results and subject to change. 

 

7.50pm PN MEP candidate Frank Psaila has written that he will "bow his head to the people's will" but pledged to continue working for the party.

That sounds like an admission that he won't be elected.

7.20pm According to TVM, far-right candidate Norman Lowell, who advocated killing disabled babies within an hour of birth, and who called Auschwitz the 'Disneyland of Poland' got up to 15,000 votes. That's about 3.2 per cent of votes. The remainder of the small parties and independent candidates got around five per cent. 

6.55pm Here are those Adrian Delia comments in more detail, including comments he gave to journalists at the Naxxar counting hall.

6.38pm Democratic Party leader Godfrey Farrugia has hinted he's willing to consider joining forces with other small political forces.

He's looked at low turnout figures and said that in the years leading to the next general election "we must listen to what the people say and consider alliances with parties which are ideologically similar". 

6.24pm Across the EU, Germany's Greens have seen support surge in vote, Merkel's bloc leads, the far-right AfD gets 10% according to exit polls. In Austria, the centre-right People's Party is on course for gains. The far-right Freedom Party placed third.

Want to follow the proceedings in other EU states? Here's the link.

6.15pm Dr Delia has now made an appearance at the Naxxar counting hall, to rally the troops. 

Adrian Delia at the Naxxar counting hall. Photo: Jacob BorgAdrian Delia at the Naxxar counting hall. Photo: Jacob Borg

6pm: Adrian Delia appeared on NET TV and spoke about the result. His verdict: 

"The PN remains the country's second-largest party and we have a duty to represent the thousands who voted for us. This is one of the worst times in the party's history, and we have to reach for the best within ourselves and find and welcome new faces".

The PN leader makes it clear he has no intention of stepping down, it seems.  

We'll have a separate story detailing Dr Delia's comments in full online shortly. 

 

5.02pm Jacob Borg got Roberta Metsola's first reaction to the heavy defeat. Here's what she had to say:

4.50pm Alternattiva Demokratika chairman Carmel Cacopardo has issued an initial statement, and his primary concern is what appears to be a rise in support for far-right politicians. 

"It seems however that a bigger percentage of voters than usual have decided to associate themselves with the politics of hate," he said. 

Read the AD leader's full statement in our summary of politicians' reactions

4.30pm Meanwhile, still no official word from Adrian Delia, though we were informed a press conference was scheduled for later on Sunday. 

4.05pm The haemorrhage keeps getting bigger... according to the Prime Minister's spokesman who just tweeted that the latest projections show a PL victory of more than 50,000 votes over PN.

Minutes later, One TV reported that the majority had grown to 51,600 votes.

3.41pm While everyone's busy discussing the PL vs PN divide in Malta, it's worth understanding the actual role of the MEPs we have voted in. 

3.20pm Independent candidate Arnold Cassola fears that Labour's "arrogance" will increase as a result of its massive victory. He also urged non-voters to reflect on the fact that their absence at the polls has solidified extreme right-wingers like Norman Lowell. 

Video: Jonathan Borg

3.05pm Reports are coming in about notices affixed to the doors of PN clubs in different localities, including Sliema, St Paul's Bay and St Julian's with the message: 'We deserve better'. Clearly, many PN supporters are not happy with the result... and the reaction from top party officials.

2.40pm Alfred Sant, Miriam Dalli are the clear front-runners for the Labour Party. Roberta Metsola is leading the pack for the PN, together with incumbent David Casa though Frank Psaila appears to be in with a slim chance of taking the PN's second seat.

2pm Joseph Muscat addressed thousands of his supporters who gathered outside party headquarters. He says the gap between the two parties is likely to be in the region of 48,000 rather than the initial forecast 45,000.

Video: Chris Sant Fournier

He tells the two PN MEPs that his party is prepared to work with them but they have to stop working against the interests of Malta.

1.55pm In a statement, the Democratic Party and its candidates thanked voters and said it wants to be the beating heart of clean and honest politics. 

"We have a big responsibility upon us. Nearly 30 per cent of voters have sent a clear message: They think politics is broken beyond fixing and have chosen to not vote. To these we say: We are hearing you loud and clear. We agree you deserve better and will double down on our work."

It said it would launch an internal review process and will announce more details in the coming days.

1.45pm Clyde Puli takes comfort in the scale of the defeat... considering the even more abysmal predictions made by some surveys a few months ago. 

1.35pm Labour supporters are happily sharing an image showing Joseph Muscat's successive electoral successes - and there are quite a few notched up in 10 years.

The image shared by the Labour Party.The image shared by the Labour Party.

1.25pm A look through some of the invalid voting documents produces some oddities, including someone who actually bothered to walk into a polling booth to draw a swastika on his document.  

Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaPhoto: Mark Zammit Cordina

1.14pm So now that Labour has opened the champagne, the process is to find out who will be our six representatives in the European Parliament.

Incumbents Alfred Sant, Miriam Dalli and Roberta Metsola appear to be leading the charge.

It's anybody's guess where the other three seats are heading. 

12.47pm Meanwhile, Labour supporters are celebrating across the island, buoyed by the sunshine after the thundery showers which welcomed the result.

12.35pm Seems that a number of surveys were spot on with their predictions, especially the one published by The Sunday Times of Malta last weekend. 

Read: Labour on track to capture 55 per cent of vote, poll suggests

12.30pm PD MP Marlene Farrugia: "Between those who didn't vote, those who voted for small parties and those who voted for Delia, it's clear that there is a majority of the electorate that does not agree with the road that Muscat has put us on."

12.20pm And amid all the excitement, we're informed that a perspex sheet at the Naxxar counting hall has been smashed. 

Labour agents celebrate. Photo: Jonathan BorgLabour agents celebrate. Photo: Jonathan Borg

12.15pm Miriam Dalli says the result is a vote of confidence in Muscat, Labour's MEPs.

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

12.10pm On Net TV, PN general secretary Clyde Puli says the party will take lessons from the result and it will take a look not only at its performance in the past year but also in previous years. He also confirms that Labour is expected to win the fourth seat.

On TVM, he later says that alarming surveys which had shown the PN losing by more than 70,000 votes were proven wrong and that his party gained ground in the final weeks.

Asked if this was the beginning of the end of Delia, he replied:

"Adrian Delia has a mandate to run the full course until the general election. This was an election about MEPs and local councils. The contest between Adrian Delia and Joseph Muscat will take place in 2022."

12pm Meanwhile, social media networks are flooded with pictures of Joseph Muscat, thanking him for steering his party through another major victory. Apparently one of the reasons leading to the delay in the voting process was that a number of EP voting documents were placed in the local council ballot boxes.

11.38am While Labour Party supporters celebrated, PN deputy leader Robert Arrigo spoke to Jacob Borg. 

11.36am Ivan Martin spoke to PL communications chief Aleander Balzan just as the celebrations were breaking out. Here's what he said.

Aleander Balzan speaks. Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

11.34am Just joining us?

Start off by having a read of our roundup story of the election result.

11.32am We asked a Nationalist Party MP what happens next and if it'll be business as usual.

"No, it's not business as usual," they replied.

11.28am Joseph Muscat called it "the biggest majority in Malta's history". 

How does the percentage gap between the PL and PN compare to previous European elections? 

11.25am Thunder rumbles overhead and the heavens open, just as Labour celebrations get into the swing of things. It's going to be a wet one. 

11.15am Joseph Muscat comments: "It's a big victory for the PL, it's the biggest in Malta's electoral history... I'm speechless."

He said PL got around 55% of the vote, some 45,000 votes more than the PN, which got some 37% of the vote. It is the biggest electoral victory in Malta's history.

"It's a vote again division. It's a vote against those scaring people over issues which don't exist," Muscat said on TVM, confirming that Labour will win another MEP seat, at the PN's expense.

11.05: Meanwhile, TVM revises the gap between the two main parties to some 45,000 votes. Again, this is not official and things might still change. All we do know is that it is a big Labour victory.

10.55am: Adrian Delia has just arrived at the PN headquarters as chants of "viva l-Labour" ring out across the road.

10.53am: TVM projections say the gap between PL and PN could well be in the region of 54,000 votes!

10.49am: Despite the potentially catastrophic result, a top PN official insists with Times of Malta: "There is no way Adrian Delia will resign."

Labour is preparing to celebrate. Photo: Claire CaruanaLabour is preparing to celebrate. Photo: Claire Caruana

10.38am: Initial projections show Labour could get up to 56% of the vote, the PN around 38%, with the rest of the votes going to the smaller parties and independent candidates. Of course, these figures might change as more votes are counted. 

10.31am Meanwhile, Europeans from 21 countries have also started voting on the fourth and final day of the EU parliamentary elections.

Right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the election will hopefully strengthen anti-immigration political forces across Europe.



Support for the Green Party surged in Ireland — where the vote was held on Friday — putting the Greens on course to win as many as three European seats.

According to exit polls, the Netherlands' centre-left party of EU Vice President Frans Timmermans won the most votes and added two seats to the Socialists and Democrats bloc in the EU Parliament.

Here's Greek PM Alexis Tsipras exit a voting booth in Athens earlier today. 

Photo: AFPPhoto: AFP

10.26am No such merchandise down the road outside the PN's Dar Ċentrali - just the boys in blue. Inside, a few angry PN members are saying the party "needs reform". 

Photo: Denise GrechPhoto: Denise Grech

10.21am While vote counters tally up the numbers in Naxxar, hawkers in Ħamrun are setting up their stalls outside PL HQ. 

Fancy a 'Malta f'qalbna t-shirt, PL mug or Joseph Muscat portrait for the mantelpiece? 

 

Hawkers set up shop. Photo: Claire CaruanaHawkers set up shop. Photo: Claire Caruana

10.14am Pre-post mortem? Some PN analysts are already working out what happens next. Here's the take of Marsascala councillor and former PN member Charlot Cassar.  

Reminder - Mr Cassar had quit the party in 2018, saying "the country has lost the PN".

10.10am Here's a short video clip demonstrating the vote scanning process. 

10.05am Wondering why we don't have a sample-based result yet?

Officials usually take samples of 50 votes from each ballot box, allowing vote counters to work out an estimate of the final result. 

That isn't happening this election. Instead, entire ballot boxes full of votes are being revealed one at a time. The change happened as part of the switch to an IT-based electronic vote counting system.

That said, while sampling is slower, the actual count will be far quicker. 

10am The result isn't out yet, but the Labour Party's core vote is already planning its strategy for the next years. 

"Criticise the PN but not Adrian Delia," Emanuel Cuschieri posted on a Labour Facebook group. "Having him lead the PN is good for the Labour Party. Use your heads".  

9.52am The automatic counting machines are scanning votes right at this moment. There's still the odd bang on the perspex, though it's a considerably calmer affair than the vote counting processes of the past. 

9.45am: Meanwhile, memes have already making the rounds on Facebook showing a "red" tsunami hitting shores. We don't think PN voters are sharing the meme. 

9.25am: Minister Michael Falzon says it appears Labour has an absolute majority of votes. It was still early to confirm if Labour won its fourth seat in the European Parliament, he says.

9.20am: PN deputy leader David Agius says he is concerned with the low turnouts in the Nationalist strongholds: "We need to understand the result and see the way forward."

Former PN mayor Robert Musumeci, who switched allegiance to Labour, accuses the PN of having used social platforms to "destroy people" since 2008. 

9.15am: Counting has barely started and Labour officials are already celebrating in the hall. Meanwhile, in the PN camp a lot of agents are sitting around dejectedly.

Some trivia: Labour has won every single MEP election since 2004 - but this is set to be its biggest.

9.10am: The main message on the PN's media arm Net on Sunday morning is that the EP election was not about Dr Delia but about the candidates the voters wanted in the European Parliament. 

9.08am: The counting process finally gets under way! We should know the result shortly. 

9.05am: We can't see any of the PN's top officials or even candidates in the corridors at the counting hall. But there is a "sea of red" in the corridors, with PL agents and MPs seemingly preparing for a big celebration. 

8.50am: PL deputy leader Chris Cardona is cautious about sounding a major victory tune but says there are "indications" about the result.

Video: Jonathan Borg

8.35am We expect to know the margin of victory around 20 minutes after the last vote has been turned over to check for dubious votes.

That said, the PL has taken samples from votes, giving them a rough indication. Which is probably why the mood is considerably positive within the PL camp. MP and number cruncher Hermann Schiavone tells TVM that Labour had notched up a "major" victory.

“It will be a bloodbath,” a party insider told us.

PL candidate Miriam Dalli is expected to be re-elected. Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaPL candidate Miriam Dalli is expected to be re-elected. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

8.30am We've had a chat with Louis Gatt, who heads Labour's electoral office.

Almost all the votes have been taken out of ballot boxes and placed face-down.
Once that is done, officials will sort dubious votes from the rest, which will then be scanned by the new electronic equipment.

The scan will do three things: provide each vote with an identifier number; count the total number of votes and digitise the number 1 preference on each vote. In a word, counting up the overall result.

Once that is done, the process of adjudication will begin for dubious votes.

Hundreds of votes appear to fall into the 'dubious' category. Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaHundreds of votes appear to fall into the 'dubious' category. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

8.25am We're being told the Electoral Commission is revising the turnout figure upwards, to 72.6 per cent. That's still more than 2 percentage points lower than in 2014, but a bit better than the 70.1 per cent originally announced. 

8.20am It's a big day for Joseph Muscat, but the Labour leader and Prime Minister seems intent on making it clear that he isn't sweating it. Here's an Instagram post he shared this morning. 

8am How did turnout break down by district? 

The 5th, 6th and 7th districts had the highest percentage of voters show up to vote. In all three, more than 75 per cent voted.

Voters in the 10th and 12th districts, by contrast, barely seemed to care: fewer than 60 per cent in both those districts voted. 

 

7.53am If you were fed up with the Facebook feed bombardment of political ads, this story from The Sunday Times of Malta might be of interest: the Electoral Commission has asked police to investigate parties which completely disregarded the day of reflection and ran adverts and sponsored posts just the same. 

7.44am That drop in turnout continues the EU-wide trend of voters growing progressively less interested in European Parliament elections. Malta has had four EP elections so far, and turnout has fallen in each successive one. 

7.35am: Looking at the official turnout figures per district, the biggest drops are in the ninth to 12 districts - and we all know which party traditionally receives the majority of votes in those localities. 

Meanwhile, turnout for the local elections was down to 60.4 per cent.

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

7.20am: PN officials at the counting hall appear to be rather deflated. Some officials are claiming a Labour victory could well exceed 50,000 votes!

All quiet before the counting starts. Photo: Jonathan BorgAll quiet before the counting starts. Photo: Jonathan Borg

7.15am: Finally: The Electoral Commission says the turnout is around 70.1 per cent, a drop of around four per cent from five years ago.

The highest turnout is in the sixth district (75.6%), the lowest in the 12th (59.7%). And Labour officials will be happy with that statistic.

6.50am: It appears that the poorest turnouts were in PN strongholds, which could well lead to an even bigger Labour victory.

And this Facebook post just uploaded by PN MP and Adrian Delia ally Hermann Schiavone warns of what appears to be the inevitable:

6.33am: Seems like we could be heading for a delay to the start of the counting process in Malta. We still don't know what's leading to this or why official turnout figures haven't yet been released.

The sorting process has started at the counting hall.The sorting process has started at the counting hall.

6.25am: Tens of millions of Europeans will vote on Sunday as 21 other countries choose their representatives in a battle between the nationalist right and pro-EU forces to chart a course for the bloc.

The far-right parties of Italian deputy PM Matteo Salvini and France's Marine Le Pen will lead this charge, and anti-EU ranks will be swelled by the Brexit Party of British populist Nigel Farage.

Voting is compulsory in five member states: Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece and Luxembourg. Belgium and Luxembourg can even issue fines in case of a no-vote. Eleven countries impose gender quotas on candidate lists.

The first ballot boxes arriving at the counting hall.The first ballot boxes arriving at the counting hall.

6.10am: For the first time in living memory we still don't know the turnout figures on Sunday morning. What we do know is that 32 per cent of eligible voters had shown up to vote by 2pm on Saturday.

Meanwhile, ballots are being faced down at the Naxxar counting hall. This is the first nationwide election in which 16-year-olds will take part, following a change in legislation.

6am: It's the first time that an electronic system, rather than manual counting, is being used for an election in Malta. This means if all goes to plan, the first results are expected as soon as 7.30am. The official result will, however, be made public on Sunday night.

5.55am: The Labour Party is widely expected to land another landslide victory but will it surpass the 35,000 gap registered in the 2017 general election? 

A Sunday Times of Malta survey published last week projected a 55-40 split, with minute support for third parties.

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia has insisted he should not be judged by these elections but the next general election, but clearly, observers will be looking into whether the party has made any progress so far under his leadership. 

Adrian Delia casting his vote on Saturday.Adrian Delia casting his vote on Saturday.

A total of 41 candidates are vying for six seats in the European Parliament at the end of a political campaign, which often went off at a tangent, with parties and speakers zeroing in on purely local (and sometimes irrelevant) issues rather than generic European affairs.

We expect at least three of the current MEPs to retain their seats for the next five years.

5.45am: Good morning. It's that Sunday morning every few years when most of us digest politics for breakfast.

More than 10 per cent (up four per cent from last election) failed to pick up their voting documents and quite a few thousand others decided not to bother showing up at a polling station on Saturday. But you can be rest assured this election will be the talk of town for the next few days. 

It's the fourth European election in Malta - and so far, the Labour Party has always won a majority of votes. 

Malta's elected MEPs in past elections:

2004 2009 2014
Simon Busuttil (PN) Simon Busuttil (PN) Alfred Sant (PL)
Joseph Muscat (PL) David Casa (PN) Roberta Metsola (PN)
John Attard Montalto (PL) Louis Grech (PL) Miriam Dalli (PL)
Louis Grech (PL) Edward Scicluna (PL) David Casa (PN)
David Casa (PN) John Attard Montalto (PL) Marlene Mizzi (PL)
  Joseph Cuschieri (PL) Therese Comodini (PN)

Elections are being held all across the 28 EU states, including, surprisingly, in Britain after the Brexit process went haywire.

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