Updated - Therese Comodini Cachia has been elected to the European Parliament, snatching a third seat for the Nationalist Party after a close race with Labour's Clint Camilleri.

Her triumph, which still has to be made official, is consolation for the PN, which lost to Labour by 33,700 votes.

It will be the first time that women would have achieved a majority in a major election in Malta, with Dr Comodini Cachia joining Roberta Metsola (PN) and Labour's Miriam Dalli and Marlene Mizzi, who were elected earlier.

The other two MEPs are Alfred Sant (PL) and David Casa (PN).

Loud cheers broke out at the Naxxar counting hall as Dr Comodini Cachia's victory became clear. She thanked all those who voted for her and said the election had been a roller coaster of emotions, particularly the counting process. She looked forward to starting a new career in the European Parliament. She also thanked Francis Zammit Dimech, whose votes she inherited.

It is the first time that the PN has won three seats since EP elections started being held. Mr Casa is the only candidate to have been elected at all three elections held in Malta.

Dr Comodini Cachia's election was a nail-biting contest with Mr Camilleri. Just over 6,200 votes separated them going into the last count, with Dr Comodini Cachia leading but with 16,000 votes up for grabs after Labour's Joseph Cuschieri was eliminated.

As was to be expected, most of the votes were inherited by Labour candidates. Some went to Marlene Mizzi, securing her re-election. As it turned out, Mr Camilleri did not inherit enough votes to catch Dr Comodini Cachia.

Mr Camilleri ended up with 29,374 votes and Dr Comodini Cachia with 29,580 votes. Just 206 votes separated them, with the PN candidate still in front.

The vote-counting process started on Sunday at noon and ended 67 hours later.


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