Updated 10.25pm

Polls closed at 10pm on Saturday paving the way for the election of six new members of the European Parliament and dozens of local councillors. 

Approximately 32 per cent of voters had cast their preference in the European Parliamentary elections by 2pm on Saturday, the Electoral Commission said.

Five years ago, the 2pm turnout stood at 33.8%, and the final turnout was 74.8%. The average total approximate percentage turnout for the local elections was 27.5%, the commission said.

The highest turnout until 2pm was in the first district (36.8%) and the lowest in the 12th district (26.8%).

Along with all other EU states, Malta will be choosing its new European Parliament representatives for the nation as well as local councils for 68 localities across the country.

Vote counting will begin on Sunday morning and electronic vote counting systems should mean that an initial indication of the overall winner will be available early in the morning.

Nationalist Party Adrian Delia was the first party leader to vote, entering a polling station in Siġġiewi at around 9am after chatting briefly to well-wishers outside.
PN secretary general Clyde Puli and Siġġiewi mayor Alessia Psaila Zammit were among those accompanying him. 

Labour leader Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle voted in Burmarrad shortly after 10am. 

President George Vella and his wife Miriam cast their vote in their hometown Żejtun at around lunchtime. 

Democratic Party leader Godfrey Farrugia voted in Żebbuġ earlier in the morning, while Alternattiva Demokratika leader Carmel Cacopardo was expected to vote in Kalkara at 2pm. 

Joseph Muscat and his wife Michelle vote in Burmarrad. Photo: Mark Zammit CordinaJoseph Muscat and his wife Michelle vote in Burmarrad. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Vote 16

This will be the first nationwide election in which 16-year-olds will take part, following a change in legislation.

Video: European Parliament

Only registered voters who have collected their voting document can cast their vote, doing so at polling stations specified on their document and which are based on their home address. 

Dr Delia enters the polling station. Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

Expected winners

Pollsters expect the Labour Party to win the EP elections in a landslide, with all projections predicting a gap well in excess of 10 percentage points between it and its rival Nationalist Party. A Sunday Times of Malta survey published last week projected a 55-40 split, with minute support for third parties.

That projection was nevertheless tighter than an earlier poll, which showed PL at 59 per cent and PN at 37 per cent.

Predicted turnout

Pre-electoral indications suggest turnout will be far lower than that during general elections, following an EU-wide trend which has shown voters struggling to muster enthusiasm for EP elections.

Read: Across the EU, fears of a populist backlash

More than 38,000 voting documents – 10.4 per cent of the total - went uncollected by voters. During the previous European election in 2014, 6.3 per cent had failed to collect their vote and final turnout reached 74.8 per cent.

Enthusiasm for local council elections appears to be even lower: 21.9 per cent of eligible voters did not collect voting documents for that ballot.

Dr Delia casts his vote. Photo: PNDr Delia casts his vote. Photo: PN

Dr and Mrs Muscat approach the polling station. P<div id="_tag_719033" class=" bbcode_attach bbcode_attach_left bbcode_attach_large"><img src="https://cdn-attachments.timesofmalta.com/e6c3db8633d863efe075c5978a2084ecb8d4b29b-1558783429-5ce925c5-620x348.jpg" title="President Vella (centre) and his wife Miriam (right) vote in Żejtun. Photo: DOI/Kevin Abela" alt="President Vella (centre) and his wife Miriam (right) vote in Żejtun. Photo: DOI/Kevin Abela" /><span>President Vella (centre) and his wife Miriam (right) vote in Żejtun. Photo: DOI/Kevin Abela</span></div>Photo: DOI/Reuben PiscopoDr and Mrs Muscat approach the polling station. P
President Vella (centre) and his wife Miriam (right) vote in Żejtun. Photo: DOI/Kevin AbelaPresident Vella (centre) and his wife Miriam (right) vote in Żejtun. Photo: DOI/Kevin Abela
Photo: DOI/Reuben Piscopo

 

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