Malta’s battle of the billboards continued on social media yesterday, with the Nationalist Party taking a swipe at Labour’s policy of transforming Malta into a cosmopolitan society.
A photo-edited PL billboard that was shared by several PN exponents (including deputy leader Robert Arrigo) read: “We made a mistake. We stuffed Malta with foreigners”.
Other mock-up billboards criticised the PL government for Malta’s population growth, accusing it of registering a deficit instead of surplus and warned Air Malta didn’t really register a profit as has been officially stated.
“Before reaching conclusions, one must observe the reasoning,” Arrigo said. “This is a game of chess. Look at how websites and newspapers jumped for joy. Five weeks [of the campaign] remain.”
The ‘battle of the billboards’ started when the PN erected two billboards with a spelling mistake on the first day of its MEP and local council campaign. The PL responded immediately, erecting a spoof billboard outside the University of Malta, complete with a facepalm emoji.
Determined to have the last word, PN exponents then started spreading edited versions of PL billboards across social media.
The dig at Malta’s exact population came in light of the publication of the local council electoral register for 2019, which show that there are more eligible foreign voters than Maltese voters in St Paul’s Bay and St Julian’s.
Statistics compiled by Lovin Malta show that at least 100,000 foreigners currently live in Malta, with the vast majority being EU nationals
Questioned about these numbers at a press conference today, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he doesn’t want “to play into the hands of those who are making it out that it’s foreigners versus Maltese people”.
“We should live together as a cosmopolitan community and understand that our success means Maltese people will progress more in life,” he said. “We need more carers, we need more nurses, and we need more people in sectors that the Maltese either don’t want to work in or for which there are simply not enough Maltese workers.”
The Prime Minister played down concerns about the demographics displayed by the electoral register by noting that only Maltese citizens are eligible to vote in general elections.
“Local councils are open to all EU citizens, but this is a reciprocal right, which is also applicable to Maltese people who live in other EU countries.”
Cover photo: Left: A photo-edited version of a PL billboard, Right: The PN during its official campaign launch last night