Analysis of the results of Maltese Parliamentary Elections held in Malta between 1921-2008

Albert Giglio

There are many history books which publish the results of elections, both general and local ones, but none of these publications has a commentary and a comparison of every result. The author was a public officer who worked for thirty years with the Electoral Commission during election times, as assistant commissioner, counting officer and supervisor, here gives an independent and balanced view of each result compared with one election and another. He deeply followed the results of the twenty Maltese parliamentary elections held between 1921 and 2008. He also tackles the main consequences that follow every election and outlines the main events that led to it. He also gives his opinion about the disadvantages of coalition governments and the stability of a one party system. However, scrutinizing the turbulent events that followed the elections of 1996 and the last election of 2008, the stability of one party system becomes debatable. On the other hand the idea of a coalition government is fair and recommended, when there are at least four or more political parties contesting, otherwise the third party, which is the least popular, has the power to control the majority in parliament and the position is similar to a government having a one seat majority.

Malta - Analysis and Consequences of Elections 1921-2003
Malta – Analysis and Consequences of Elections 1921-2003

The results of some of these elections were followed by troubled events, most significant are the elections of 1981 and 2008. The turbulent events after the 1981 election were the result of changes in electoral boundaries. The Electoral Commission is bound to carry out a revision of the electoral boundaries between one election and another in order to maintain as far as possible an equal number of voters in each and every district. However, these changes can cause an adverse election result which can favour one party more than the other where the party with the largest number of votes may obtain less seats in parliament. Such a situation occurred in 1987, 1996 and in 2008. Unless changes in our constitution are carried out with the consent of all concerned, it is likely that an adverse electoral result will continue to occur.In this publication the author focuses on the career of prominent politicians (party leaders and candidates elected from two districts or on the first count) and the emancipation of the Maltese electorate, particularly women, through the success of prominent women candidates who had a successful political career.

The last election (2008) was followed by an unexpected event. A private motion was proposed by a government member for the introduction of a Divorce Law in Malta. As a result of this motion, a Divorce Referendum was held on 28th May 2011.The result of this referendum gives the Maltese electorate some food for thought. Many Maltese were surprised that the Movement in favour of a Divorce Law obtained 53.2% of the Maltese electorate, while the movement against divorce won 46.8 %. Only 71.6% of the electorate cast its vote. The high number of abstentions, 92,412, indicates that this referendum was a matter of individual conscience. Two other referenda were held in Malta during the period covered in this publication: in 1956 for the Integration of Malta with Britain and in 1964 for the Independence of Malta. The other problem which the Nationalist Government had to face after the last election was the discontent of some of its own parliamentarians. As the Government has a one seat majority in Parliament its position is rather precarious. Another factor which the author emphasises in this publication is the two party system to which the Maltese electorate was accustomed during the last forty years. The Maltese people have not yet been persuaded to elect a member of any other party or parties in parliament. After the 2008 election the Nationalist and Labour Parties obtained between them 98% of the valid votes cast, while the other remaining groups only won 2%. It appears more likely that their might be a split in the two major parties, rather than a new party successfully contesting in the political arena.

In this publication there is an outline of the Maltese political history of the twentieth century and the events that led to the twenty elections that followed. The turbulent times of this period, and the power of the masses, controlled by the main political parties, are clearly demonstrated in this analysis which should serve as a reference to all politicians and students of Maltese political history as is stated in the Preface of this Publication “this book furnishes us with an inestimable guide to secure for Malta the best possible governments for the future”.