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So, another set of elections is coming up in just a handful of days, and according to the latest polls, it seems like there’s a good chance you may be one of the voters who are none the wiser about who to vote for.

The fact is that there is a dearth of options when it comes to dependable, trustworthy candidates who are willing and able to improve our lot. This scarcity can be felt in both the local council elections and the MEP elections.

In the major political parties, candidates who stand out and have a reliable track record are the exception, not the rule. The independent candidates are a truly random lot of individuals who vary wildly from one option to the next, and the smaller parties vying to become the third biggest political group in the country seem to be falling short of the mark.

So, what to do in such a polarised landscape? Amid all the propaganda, counter-propaganda, scandals, exposés, and denials, who does one even believe? In the eyes of an informed observer, which political parties and independent candidates pass a basic level of scrutiny, and which ones deserve to get permanently booed off stage?

In Malta, news portals tend to avoid making these kinds of categorical assessments because of this misguided belief that adopting a neutral tone when reporting on politics equates to objectivity.

Opinion must not get in the way of hard facts, and journalists must steer clear of their personal bias, or so the notion goes. This website rejects this notion because, simply put, it is not real. It is a mirage that neatly absolves the author of the responsibility of making a call when describing a developing story and does a disservice to readers by denying them of an honest assessment of any given situation. It is also an outright lie to suggest that anyone can totally prevent their bias from showing when writing a story when even the angle you pick can give you away.

So, we are not going to be ‘neutral’. We are going to talk about who we think merits your consideration and who we think should be kept as far away from any form of office as possible, because that is the real duty of a journalist in a democracy that elects representatives. As a quick side note, we’ve also written a commentary piece about what this website believes is the best possible behavioural response to the current political landscape.

To begin with, there are both independent candidates as well as political parties who we firmly believe should not even cross your mind when you are standing in the voting booth with a pencil in one hand and your vote in the other. This website has a zero tolerance policy for fascists and far-right sympathisers, and all of the parties and independent candidates who can be identified as such have been excluded from this analysis as a result.

To be clear, this isn’t an assumption that parties like Imperium Europa can never be considered as an electoral force that needs to be taken into account when the votes are finally cast on 8 June. On the contrary, it is a condemnation of their hateful, intolerant rhetoric and a refusal to consider them a viable option because of it. It is also a warning to any voters considering going down that route.

The options that remain after immediately discarding fascists and their sympathisers are the following: the Labour Party, the Nationalist Party, ADPD, and Volt Malta, along with a shortlist of independent candidates. Here’s our rundown.

The Labour Party

Prime minister Robert Abela speaking at a Labour Party campaign event.

Local councils: it can easily be said that the Labour Party’s track record with local councils is by far the worst of the lot, for two main reasons. First of all, the Labour government gutted the once significant influence that local councils had on their towns, centralising infrastructure, roadworks, waste disposal, and other basic town management policy areas and thereby facilitating public procurement corruption in the process.

Secondly, local councillors who were elected on the Labour Party’s ticket are more often in the spotlight for the wrong reasons than they are for the right ones. As revealed by this website’s investigation about major development in the idyllic town of Santa Luċija, the Labour Party’s local councillors failed to oppose several massive development plans in the locality in spite of the locals’ furious rejection of each and every one. With the notable exception of individuals like Qala’s Paul Buttigieg, the pattern found in Santa Luċija’s Labour-led council can be found elsewhere.

European Parliament: while the Labour Party likes to claim that it always puts the country’s interests first in European fora, its track record shows that its MEPs are far more loyal to the party and its agenda. The Labour Party’s MEPs have consistently committed themselves to refusing calls for accountability in relation to corruption within their party’s ranks, attacking critics as dissidents who wish harm upon Malta, and exploiting catastrophes like the ongoing genocide in Palestine as just another avenue for cheap propaganda.

A party this badly compromised is not fit to represent Malta in Europe.

The Nationalist Party

Opposition leader Bernard Grech speaking at a Nationalist Party campaign event.

Local councils: given the obvious political incentive for doing so, the Nationalist Party’s local councillors are always more likely to be sharp critics of over-development in their localities than Labour Party councillors ever could. Perhaps one of the most well-known examples of this is Albert Buttigieg, the former mayor of St Julian’s who successfully clinched a seat in Malta’s Parliament during the last general elections.

However, the party’s track record across all local councils is far from spotless, with one particularly embarrassing incident exposing signs of weakness in the party’s disciplinary hierarchy. Anne Marie Muscat Fenech Adami, former PN mayor of Naxxar, had outright refused to follow party orders on a key planning file which she had a personal interest in and had not faced any kind of disciplinary action for her highly questionable handling of the affair.

European Parliament: EU politics will always hold a special place in the heart of any fervent supporter of the Nationalist Party, largely because Malta’s membership in the European Union is one of the main achievements in its history. The PN holds the Roberta Metsola trump card in hand, with fellow incumbent MEP and self-styled anti corruption watchdog David Casa seeming like the likeliest to inherit a close second count of votes cast for Metsola.

In this respect, the Nationalist Party is clearly much more at home in Brussels than the Labour Party, and can boast of accomplishments which attest to that. However, it must be noted that anything short of clinching three seats for Nationalist MEPs will be a resounding failure for the party, a scenario which must be considered given that practically nobody else on their list of candidates seems to have left an impact on undecided voters.


A photo of ADPD leader Sandra Gauci (second from left) speaking at an ADPD press conference.

Local councils: ADPD is fielding a total of five candidates across five localities – Birkirkara, Birżebbuġa, Attard, Balzan, and Marsaskala. Given the fact that we have not seen an ADPD local councillor in a long time, it is obviously impossible to establish a track record that is comparable to the Labour Party or the Nationalist Party. Nonetheless, under the leadership of Sandra Gauci, there has been a tangible improvement in the party’s presence on local issues and this may prove to be helpful in clinching at least one seat.

European Parliament: while ADPD’s efforts may pay off thanks to its rank and file campaigning in some of Malta’s biggest localities, it seems like Gauci’s aspiration to clinch the ‘alternative’ seat is being overshadowed by former ADPD leader turned independent candidate Arnold Cassola, who seems set to carry the hopes of activists and disillusioned voters far more than ADPD is.

Nonetheless, this website feels confident stating that ADPD’s star candidate is one to watch, especially when considering that she has not missed a beat to be at the forefront of every significant protest, event, and anything else people may care about since day one of her tenure.

Volt Malta

Volt Malta’s sole MEP candidate, Matthias Iannis Portelli.

Local councils: Volt Malta is not fielding any candidates in the local council elections.

European Parliament: the pan-European party is fielding just one candidate for the EP elections, a disappointing, lacklustre showing for a party that seemed to have quite a bit of young energy at its disposal when it was first set up a few years ago. While its electoral manifestos and proposals are arguably the best researched proposals on the island, the lack of manpower at its disposal means the fledgling Maltese branch of Volt leaves a lot to be desired. Nonetheless, the handful of individuals who are involved are consistent, so there might be hope for Volt next time round if it manages to shore up more support.

Independent candidates

Independent MEP candidate Arnold Cassola speaking at a campaign event.

Local councils: following his previous successful election as Malta’s first totally independent candidate, Steve Zammit Lupi is set to once more give the major parties a run for their money in his hometown of Żebbuġ. As demonstrated by his spotless track record, Zammit Lupi is by far the best independent candidate in the local council elections of this year.

If Zammit Lupi established the template, former Labour mayor of Gżira Conrad Borg Manche’ is going to pull a similar but more ambitious move by seeking to be elected as either an independent MEP candidate or local councillor after he fell out with the Labour Party. While Borg Manche’ was instrumental in the fight against overdevelopment in his hometown and in Malta in general, it remains to be seen whether his conservative views on subjects like women’s reproductive rights will alienate the same potential demographic of voters that also gravitates towards environmentalism.

European Parliament: the last-minute, runaway star of the show in terms of independent candidates seems to be Arnold Cassola. A consistent individual who has been carving out his niche for three decades, Cassola has always stood for all that one would expect out of a dyed in the wool green party politician, except for the moment in which he effectively splintered ADPD into even smaller factions by refusing to endorse a pro-choice position.

Effectively, most of his supporters are piling all their hopes on one candidate simply because there is no other way of breaking the PLPN mold if nobody manages to actually breach the threshold of votes that is necessary for an independent candidate to be elected on his own steam. Here’s hoping that after more than two decades of failed attempts, Cassola finally manages to prove every single doubter wrong and instill hope in future generations seeking to be represented in politics.

One Comment

  • Andrew Izzo Clarke says:

    “Opinion must not get in the way of hard facts, and journalists must steer clear of their personal bias, or so the notion goes. This website rejects this notion because, simply put, it is not real.”

    Honestly, thank you for saying this because it’s been driving me bananas.

    Otherwise a pretty cool assessment.

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