The Labour Party’s landslide victory in the European Parliament elections last weekend is not that “historic” after all, despite proclamations throughout election day.
While Muscat grew his party’s majority to a vote margin of 42,656 (54.2%), this falls short of Former Prime Minister Pawlu Boffa’s record of 44,104 votes in the 1947 general election.
Boffa’s Malta Labour Party had demolished its opponents, winning 59.9% of the vote in 1947, with its closest rivals the Nationalist Party getting just an 18% vote share. That day, 106,141 people voted, with the now-defunct Democratic Action Party, Gozo Party and the Jones Party winning four, three and two seats respectively.
Beyond the results, however, yesterday’s election was a vote of many historic firsts. Electronic counting was introduced, and this was also the first time 16-year-olds voted.
The 1947 election was no different, being the first where women were allowed to vote and property qualifications for voters were abolished. The number of parliamentary seats had also increased, from 10 to 40. Agatha Barbara had also become the first woman elected to Parliament.
So where does this victory rank?
On a personal level, the landslide result is the most significant majority ever achieved by Muscat, only second to Boffa since elections started being recorded in 1921.
His electoral victories in 2013, 2017 and the MEP elections of 2009 and 2014 don’t fall far behind, all recording majorities of roughly 35,000.
However, in terms of percentages, the last two general elections and the election of 1947 all beat out this year’s result of 54.2%.
All that remains to be seen is whether Muscat and the Labour Party can capitalise on the increased gap to finally surpass Boffa in 2022.