INTRODUCTION: Happy supporters of Malta's ruling Labour Party danced in the streets of the island's capital of Valleta, to celebrate the Labour election victory on Sunday (13 December).
VALLETTA, MALTA (VISNEWS - ALAN MEADOWS & JOHN PARNIS)
GV People celebrating Mintoff's victory (2 shots)
GV Dancing in the streets and waving scarves (3 shots)
GV Motorcade led by decorated van
GV PAN Tight security surrounds voting by Dr. Edward Fenech Adami (2 shots)
GV Armed soldiers
Gv Adami arrives to cast his vote
GV INTERIOR Adami puts paper in box and leaves polling station (2 shots)
Background: INTRODUCTION: Happy supporters of Malta's ruling Labour Party danced in the streets of the island's capital of Valleta, to celebrate the Labour election victory on Sunday (13 December). Labour, led by Mr. Dom Mintoff, was returned to power for its third five year term. The opposition Nationalist Party, polled more votes that Labour but lost the election because Labour won more seats. The voter turn-out was put at a record 94.6 per cent.
SYNOPSIS: Jubilant Labour voters celebrated their party's success before the final votes had even been counted. They danced through the streets of Valleta, as early predictions came of a Labour victory. The win was by no means an easy one for Labour. It was the first time that a Maltese election had returned a party on a minority vote. The last socialist government had a wide majority, but this time could only manage 498 per cent of the votes compared with the Nationalist total of almost 51 per cent.
The Labour Party has taken the former British colony on a socialist and non-aligned path for the past 10 years. The Nationalists, led by Dr. Edward Fenech Adami, had pledged to restore close ties with the West.
Tight security surrounded the polling throughout the election but particularly where Dr. Adami went to cast his vote. Armed troops enforced strict checks on anyone nearing the army barracks where counting was held. Unauthorized people were not allowed within three kilometres (2 miles).
Dr. Adami was fighting his first election since becoming party leader. During his election campaign, he had discussed the possibility of seeking membership of the European Economic Community (EEC). It was a torrid campaign and at one stage, tension flared into violence as rival party supporters and police fought pitched street battles.
InitialsHB Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved