• Short Summary

    Malta is due to choose a new government on June 12 to 15. The Mediterranean?

  • Description

    Malta is due to choose a new government on June 12 to 15. The Mediterranean island's defence alignment is likely to be one of the hottest election issues.

    The ruling Nationalist Party of outgoing Prime Minister George Borg Olivier -- filmed at a large rally in Pawla last week -- is pledged to strengthen Malta's ties with Britain and her Western allies.

    But the main opposition Labour Party plans to review defence agreements. Britain, says the party, must pay more for defence facilities on the island and will not have the automatic right to make bases available to other countries -- an apparent reference to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) powers. Labour leader Dom Mintoff was filmed at a well-supported meeting in Qormi last week.

    SYNOPSIS: The Maltese people go to the polls to elect a new government later this month. As the election campaign approached its climax last week, supporters crowded a Square at Qormi to listen to Labour Party leader Dom Mintoff.

    Mr. Mintoff's party is taking a strong line on defence. It demands that Britain should pay more for use of Maltese bases and that these facilities shouldn't be automatically available to foreig??? powers -- an apparent reference to NATO countries.

    The election is also being fought by the small Progressive Constitutional Party, which is in favour of renewing defence agreements.

    The other principal contender in the election is the ruling Nationalist Party.

    It's supporters rallied to listen to its leaders, Prime Minister George Borg Olivier last week in Pawla. Again, the island's defence commitments play a major role in the party's election manifesto. It pledges to strengthen relations with Britain and her western allies.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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